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Mah govt reclaims 14.5 acres of land allotted to Ghai's Whistling Woods

The Maharashtra government has completed the process of taking over 14.5 acres of the total land alloted to filmmaker Subhash Ghai for his film institute, Whistling Woods International, located at Filmcity in suburban Mumbai and also served a notice to pay the lease rent of over Rs 79 crore.

Shyam Tagde, the managing director of Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation (MFSCDC), which manages the Film City, told PTI that the notice has been served to the film institute for the payment of the lease rent of over Rs 79 crore.

He said the process of taking over the vacant plot ad-measuring 14.5 acres was completed on April 18 whereas the remaining 5.5 acre on which the WWI building stands will remain with Ghai till 2014.

Whistling Woods
Whisting Woods will remain open at this location till 2014.

The exercise was initiated in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict upholding the Bombay High Court order quashing the 20-acre land allotted to Ghai's film institute in Filmcity earlier this month.

A bench of Justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad had also pulled up former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for allotting the land in 2004, saying the CM cannot bend or bypass rules to give away government land.

The high court in its order had directed Ghai and Whistling Woods to vacate 14.5 acres of land immediately which shall be resumed by the state government and the remaining 5.5 acres, where the institute stands, would be taken over by the state government on July 31, 2014, after all the ongoing courses at the film institute are completed.

The land was allotted to Ghai's institute pursuant to a May 30, 2004 joint venture agreement signed between his Mukta Arts and the Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation (MFSCDC).

"As per the court decision, the government is charging lease rent from the date of joint venture agreement from October 24,2000 with 6 per cent simple interest per annum," Tagde said.

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