While filmmaker Subhash Ghai could not get a director’s cut on this particular plot, the conflict surrounding the land on which stands his film institute in Goregaon may have a happy ending for some, after all.
After the apex court directed Ghai to comply with the Bombay High Court’s order of returning all 20 acres of land which houses Whistling Woods International, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has moved with laudable swiftness to sniff out an opportunity to assume the chunk of land in the western suburb, and build reasonably priced houses for the aam admi.
With a usable FSI of 2.5 on the acreage, the housing authority can develop up to 21 lakh sq ft with constructions. This would give nearly 5,000 affordable one-bedroom-hall-kitchen (1BHK) apartments of 425 sq ft each within city limits, a rarity to come by.
Thus, if everything goes well, Mumbaikars may get nearly 5,000 1BHKs.
MHADA Vice-chairman and Managing Director Satish Gavai said, “MHADA would be the first claimant for the land if the government makes it available. We will surely make a representation to the government after we check the reservations on the land.”
“We do not have much land available. This is one of the best opportunities for us. We will surely ask the government for the land. We have made such representations to the government earlier as well. We will pay the government the amount for which it will be ready to give us the land,” he added.
MHADA annually comes up with affordable housing in the city and far suburbs. Because of the ever-compounding land crunch, this year, out of the nearly 2,800 houses, only 800 are in Mumbai.
The rest are beyond city limits, in Mira Road and beyond. If the Goregaon land comes in MHADA’s kitty, it would imply more housing available for Mumbaikars.
Advocate Vinod Sampat claims that it would be ideal for the common man. “The government should give the land to MHADA and let it construct affordable housing for the common man in Mumbai and nearby.
This would be the perfect use of the land. The state should use its infrastructure for the benefit of the citizens, not some private parties.”
Said realty expert Ajay Chaturvedi, “Housing provided by MHADA is the only way for middle, upper-middle, and lower classes to be able to afford a home in Mumbai. Real estate, always on the uptick, has made living spaces in Mumbai unattainable. The government should give the land to MHADA for the welfare of the common man.”
I feel cheated: Subhash Ghai
After the Apex Court dismissed an appeal by Mukta Arts Ltd challenging a Bombay High Court ruling cancelling allotment of 20 acres of prime land in Goregaon for his film academy, Ghai feels he got a raw deal.
“We feel cheated by the government of Maharashtra when we are told, after 10 years of setting up Whistling Woods at a cost of Rs 75 crore, that our joint venture agreement since year 2000 is not valid,” Ghai said yesterday.
“What is our fault? They gave the agreement to us signed by the then MD, cultural secretary and minister of culture to have a partnership in Whistling Woods Ltd with share equity and we invested Rs 20 crore to begin with,” he lamented.
Last February, the HC quashed the land allotment made for the posh film academy, a joint venture between Mukta Arts Ltd and the Maharashtra Films, Stage & Cultural Development Corporation.
It asked the director to retrospectively pay an annual rate of Rs 5.3 crore for the land from year 2000. After conceding 14.5 acres, he is liable to pay only for the remaining 5.4 acres till 2014.
After the SC’s observation that the application for allotting the land remained in cold storage under three chief ministers, and was revived and cleared by Vilasrao Deshmukh, the BJP on Thursday sought his resignation from the current ministerial post.