Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) is facing trouble with unknown people who are claiming a piece of land on the campus for a trust, which the management has called ‘unlawful’.
The piece of land in question borders the campus from the Paspoli village end and was acquired by the state government in 1956, eventually awarded to IIT-B. “All compensation was paid to all the previous land owners and while the trust members have been very supportive throughout, some people with vested interests are claiming ownership of this land which belongs to the state of Maharashtra,” said a spokesperson for the institute.
The management has sent a letter highlighting this problem to the revenue minister of the state, and officials at the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai. Another letter from the institute, has been sent to the Union HRD minister, making it very clear that the private trust was compensated for the land in 1956 itself and that there had been no problems over ownership since.
While the land in question has been a matter of dispute between IIT-B and the private trust, the Deputy Director of Land Records of the Konkan Region recently passed an order favouring the private trust.
The institute had filed an appeal challenging the order on October 4. “Within the appeal period of 60 days, the City Survey office in Mulund changed the property card in the name of the private trust and others, who have already been compensated for the land,” stated the letter.
When HT contacted officials at the City Survey office, they said the decision to demarcate the land to the private trust was taken by the Deputy Director of Land Records.
“The City Survey office has no power to change the ownership of a piece of land, only the government can do this. The appeal filed by the institute challenging the decision of DDLR has once again gone in the favour of the private trust,” said Deependra Kushwah, Mumbai suburban collector. However, IIT-B officials said the government has not yet signed off the land to the trust.
In their letter to the revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, the IIT-B management has sought intervention in the matter by issuing a stay on the order by DDLR.
“This has been done with the help of local police along with the City Survey officials and it has been noticed that the private party has also started some civil work in the property,” stated the letter.
Since the matter is also being heard at the ministry level, the institute has appealed to the state Revenue Department that the new property card of the demarcated piece of land be cancelled till the matter is finally decided at the ministry level.