The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has in the past few weeks cleared the acquisition of several plots earmarked for civic amenities. All these plots were to be acquired as per the Development Plan — a master plan that plots public amenities and commercial zones — of 1991.
Since there was no attempt to acquire several of them in the last 19 years, their values have shot up. Now, collectively, they might cost the city Rs 750 crore. Had they been acquired on time, they would have cost less than half the amount.
With Rs 750 crore, the BMC could have built two hospitals of 200 beds each.
Among the plots cleared for purchase were nine in Juhu that have a collective market value of Rs 740 crore, two in Dahisar that would cost Rs 13 crore and one at Mazgaon that is valued at Rs 2.58 crore.
The purchase of the Mazgaon plot for Rs 2.58 crore was cleared on Tuesday.
The Opposition questioned the delay in acquiring the plots. Vinod Shekhar, deputy leader of the Congress in the BMC, said: “There is something fishy in the acquisition of plots. The ruling Shiv Sena-Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) deliberately delays tabling purchase proposals so that plot reservations lapse.”
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Mangesh Sangle said: “The ruling alliance is to be blamed for the delay.”
The Sena attributed the delay to various issues, including legal matters. “The Mazgaon plot proposal was tabled late because of the delay in getting legal opinion,” said Sunil Prabhu, Sena leader in the BMC.
Improvements Committee Chairman Manoj Kotak, of the BJP, admitted that the cost would have been lower had the BMC acquired the plots earlier. However, he said the costs would be brought down. “Though the market price of these plots is Rs 700-800 crore, the BMC deducts the cost of rehabilitation if the plot is encroached upon or has commercial structures. So the actual cost is lower than the market price,” he claimed.
On Tuesday, the BMC also cleared the purchase of three plots at Juhu for Rs 55.28 crore. They have been earmarked as a ground, a market and a garden respectively. Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta said the Mazgaon acquisition process would start on Wednesday.
Hindustan Times had on October 6 published a report saying only seven days were left to start the process of acquiring the plot.
The Urban Development Department will issue a notification on Wednesday. The Special Land Acquisition Officer will invite suggestions for and objections against the acquisition. The acquisition process would be complete within two years.
“Though the process will begin tomorrow, we need not pay the amount immediately. We can pay it in four instalments over two years,” said an officer of the Development Plan Department.