Maharashtra ready to take back plots given at concessional rates

Mumbai: Maharashtra Government is ready to take back all plots of land given at concessional rates to artists and charitable trusts if they are found to be have been misused or used for other than the intended purpose, the Legislative Council was informed today.

The Government is ready to draft a new policy to this effect. It will prepare a list of all such land allotments and take action promptly (where misuse has come to light) after due scrutiny, Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said.

Khadse was responding to a query raised by Kiran Pawaskar (NCP) over the allotment of land to BJP Lok Sabha MP and actor Hema Malini at Oshiwara for a dance academy, a decision which had invited criticism.

Khadse said Malini, an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, was first given land at Versova in 1997 for which she had deposited Rs 10 lakh.

"That land subsequently came under Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ). Hence, she applied for alternate plot. In 2002, the then Congress-NCP Government allotted a plot at Oshiwara which was under reservation for gardens," he said.

The Government, as a special case, in 2010 changed the reservation and gave the plot for setting up Natya Vihar Academy at nominal rates, the Minister said.

The land was given at nominal rates as per the policy laid down in 1976. The Government's policy has been to allot lands at concessional rates (to artists and organisations) to promote art, culture and for charitable activities, he said.

The policy was amended in 1983 wherein several plots were given to trusts like Marathwada Mitra Mandal, Konkan Mitra Mandal, politicians like Narayan Rane, Sharad Pawar, former President Pratibha Patil and organisations such as Bombay Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Kokilaben Hospital, among others, Khadse said.

He said several of these trusts have taken plots at concessional rates in Navi Mumbai from CIDCO, a state-run urban planning agency.

Replying to other queries, the Minister clarified the current BJP-led Government has only implemented the decisions taken by the previous administrations.

"The previous Governments had allotted hundreds of acres of such lands. If you insist, we are ready to take back all these plots or charge price as per existing market rates," Khadse said.

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