The Maharashtra government has decided to take back its prime plot in Cuffe Parade on which the World Trade Centre (WTC) stands. It has cited violation of agreement clauses, financial irregularities and revenue loss, apart from illegal constructions as its reasons for the decision.
The government also concluded that several activities undertaken by lease holder — M Visvesvaraya Industrial Research and Development Centre (MVIRDC) — on the premises were illegal because no government sanction was taken. Mumbai city collector Ashwini Joshi issued the order to take back the entire plot from MVIRDC.
The 42,025-sqm plot was given on lease for 99 years to the MVIRDC, where the WTC was constructed in 1970.
The total revenue loss is yet to be estimated by the collectorate, but the lease holder has been asked to pay Rs20 crore by issuing a demand note. “I have decided to take back the land. An order was passed to this effect because there were several serious breaches, loss of revenue to the state exchequer and several other irregularities,” the Mumbai collector told HT.
The seven-page order issued by the collector stated 144 sub-lease agreements were made by MVIRDC without informing the state government, which violates a major clause of the agreement that says the lease holder will have to share 50% of its earning or a minimum of Rs10 lakh a year.
The order further reckoned a number of illegal constructions on the premises, which includes the installation of eight mobile towers and construction of a convention centre complex and luxury hotel for which the lessee has failed to give a satisfactory reply during a hearing conducted by the Mumbai collector on November 22, says the order copy in possession with HT.
It also concluded that lease holders have started branches of WTC at Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Goa by means of investment without taking prior permission from the government, which again amounts to violation of its order. A committee has also been appointed to ascertain actual losses, the collector said.