The state government has made it mandatory that plots earmarked for fuel stations will be used for the same purpose. This comes as a relief for car owners in south Mumbai where a lot of refuelling stations would have been shut down as landowners have been keen to redevelop the plots.
On Tuesday, the state government informed the Bombay High Court that it had decided to amend the Development Control Regulations (DCRs) for the city, prohibiting change of user for land on which a refuelling station exists; 254 fuel stations in the city will benefit from this decision.
The government has also ordered 13 municipal corporations in the state to take legal steps to amend their DCR’s “prohibiting change of user for the land (of) existing filling stations for petrol, diesel, compressed natural gas or any other motor vehicle fuel”.
The state’s decision is aimed at retaining the land on which a fuel station exists and preventing its commercial exploitation.
There are 254 fuel refill stations in the city that cater to 16 lakh private motor vehicles, 55,000 taxis and more than one lakh autorickshaws. After the Maharashtra Rent Control Act was amended in 1999, landowners had started moving courts for evicting fuel station from prime plots of land in south and central Mumbai. Prior to the amendment, public sector companies were protected as tenants. After the amendment, only companies having a capital up to Rs 1 crore had tenancy rights.
Taking advantage of the amendment, at least nine refuelling stations were ordered to be evicted in 2008-09 and 120 more faced eviction as the lease would end in two or three years.
Last year, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas and public sector oil companies had asked the state to intervene and stop take over of such land. The Bombay High Court had also directed the state to consider a similar plea filed by Mumbai Taximen Association.
Following the court directive, the state government decided to take steps to amend the Maharashtra Rent Control Act and also modify the DCRs for all the municipal corporations to protect existing fuel refill stations in the state.