From ET Realty
MUMBAI: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis plans to scrap the rule that allows land allotments at concessional rates following the controversy over a plot being given to BJP lawmaker Hema Malini for a nominal sum.
The Government Resolution (GR) of 1984 allows land meant for cultural or educational purposes to be given on lease at 25% of 1976 rates. The chief minister confirmed to media that he has asked officials prepare new rules.
“The earlier policy was flawed levying 25% of 1976 rates was too less and so I have asked my officials to come up with a new policy,” Fadnavis said. On being asked whether it would affect the land given to actress Hema Malini, Fadnavis said that would have to be looked into.
“It was a cabinet decision that will have to be seen,” he said. A state government official said that the new policy could stipulate that land can now only be given at the prevailing ready-reckoner rates, a government assessment of property prices.
ET was the first to report that the state government had reservations about the allotment after it was brought to by light by Right to Information activist Anil Galgali. He had written to Fadnavis on February 1, saying that the amendment made in 1984 needed to be repealed as it was causing “huge losses to the government.” Galgali welcomed the move by the chief minister.
“If one goes by even a conservative estimate, the government has suffered losses worth at least Rs 50,000 crore due to such land being given at cheap rates to various trusts,” he said.
Politicians seeking government land at cheap rates for their trusts will be hit hard. The Maharashtra government had amended the revenue and forest department Government Resolution of 1983 on May 11, 1984, at the behest of politicians who wanted government land for their trusts at cheap rates.
Those who got such land include former Congress chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and AR Antulay besides Congress member Rajiv Shukla and the BJP’s Gopinath Munde. Shukla is said to have got a 2,821 square metre plot at Andheri for just under Rs 1 lakh. The plot’s value is close to Rs 100 crore.