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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Chavan puts 100 big land deals in Mumbai on hold

Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 03, 2011
First Published: 00:55 IST(3/1/2011) | Last Updated: 01:47 IST(3/1/2011)

 In what appears to be a clean-up drive, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has decided to review nearly 100 recent decisions related to land in Mumbai taken by the state government before he took over as chief minister from Ashok Chavan.

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These involve land allotments, hikes in the floor space index (FSI), changes in land reservation, and major redevelopment projects cleared by two key Maharashtra government departments — Urban Development and Revenue.

Sources said Chavan would do a case-by-case review of the decisions. "The review will be limited to recent decisions. If these involve any illegality or abuse of power, the decisions will have to been revoked. This will send a clear signal to the bureaucracy not to tolerate any illegalities in clearing land proposals," said a source close to the chief minister.

Taking a lead

In the recently concluded assembly session, the Oppositi-on brought up 33 land deals it called controversial

Prithviraj Chavan has gone one step further by holding 100 deals

His decision is bound to annoy state’s powerful builders' lobby

The move could, however, delay some big-ticket real estate projects in the city.

The aim is clear: to streamline the manner in which files pertaining to land-related cases are cleared at the state secretariat. The Urban Development Department formulates development control rules that regulate construction in the city -- it calls the shots on FSI hikes and change of land reservation.

The revenue department deals with all land allotment matters. 

The source said Chavan was keen on bringing in more transparency in the working of these two departments as there had been questions about several big land deals cleared by the state in the last couple of years.

"The review of these files is likely to lead to the freezing of certain controversial development control regulations related to public parking and a tightening of the process for changing land reservation," said a senior bureaucrat.

Prithviraj Chavan took over after the Adarsh Housing Society debacle, which cost Ashok Chavan the chief ministership. He had to quit after it turned out that his late mother-in-law and his sister-in-law had flats in the Adarsh housing society, which had been floated for Kargil veterans but ended up housing several top military officers, bureaucrats and politicians.

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