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Mumbai: Enquiry demanded into proposed Mulund plot deal

Updated on: 09 October,2020 07:11 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sanjeev Shivadekar |

Politicians and activists ask chief minister to order probe against the erring officials involved in the process of acquiring the 21-acre land

Mumbai: Enquiry demanded into proposed Mulund plot deal

The makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients at the Manohar Joshi Jr. College at Kalakilla, Dharavi. Representaion picture/ Suresh Karkera

Day mid-day reported about the divide within the BMC over a 21-acre plot in Mulund, which is in the process of being acquired for a 5,000-bed infectious diseases hospital, legislators, corporators and activists also came out to oppose the corporation's plan and urged the chief minister to order an enquiry into the matter.

A section of the civic body has alleged that the plot belongs to a private individual who will benefit from the deal by not having to pay capital gains tax on the profit made in the deal. However, the other half has said the plot belongs to the state government and that the BMC is not finalising the deal.

'Will oppose the proposal'

Rais Shaikh, Bhiwandi MLA
Rais Shaikh, Bhiwandi MLA

Bhiwandi MLA Rais Shaikh on Thursday accused the BMC of not following due process for acquiring the land. The Samajwadi Party corporator from Mandanpura said, "There is ambiguity over the title of the land. A private individual has tendered his Expression of Interest (EoI) to offer the land for the construction of the hospital. But, now it has come to light that the plot is in the name of the state government. So, how can an individual participate in an EOI if the land doesn't belong to him/her."

Shaikh said he will oppose the proposal when it's tabled before the civic body for approval. "There is a TB hospital in Mumbai, built several decades ago. That can be pulled down and a new mega hospital can be constructed. Why waste taxpayers' money and procure land from a private individual. The civic body should approach the state government and let it take the initiative to implement the idea of building such a big hospital," the SP MLA said.

'Have multiple hospitals'

Niraj Gunde, a Mumbai-based activist, also tweeted following the mid-day report, and later told mid-day, "A detailed investigation needs to be done to find why the land is proposed to be procured under the Land Acquisition Act. Is it being deliberately done to pass on the tax benefits to a private player and deal at a much higher rate than the prevailing market prices?"

Gunde, a 48-year-old engineer, questioned the plan to build one 5,000-bed hospital when the target is to serve the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The Jumbo COVID Care facility at Mahalaxmi Race Course. Representation pic/ Ashish Raje
The Jumbo COVID Care facility at Mahalaxmi Race Course. Representation pic/ Ashish Raje

"If the purpose of the hospital is to serve the people of MMR, then the administration should consider setting up one hospital of 1,600 to 2,000 beds each in western suburbs, eastern suburbs and the island city," he said.

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Will solve travel issues

"Besides, multiple such hospitals will ensure there's no overcrowding and the families as well as doctors and other health care employees don't face commute issues.

For instance, if the hospital is set up in Mulund, people from Palghar, Virar-Vasai, Mira Road, Borivli, etc, would have to travel to the other end of Mumbai for treatment," Gunde added. Meanwhile, Member Of Legislative Assembly Council Jayant Jadhav has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, urging him for a detailed probe in the matter and take stern action against the erring officials involved in the proposal.

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