The state government seems to have convinced the National Textile Corporation to part with its 12.5-acre Indu mill property at Worli, in exchange for vertical development rights in the island city. The deal, if it goes through, will allow the government to fulfill its promise of building a memorial to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at the site.
The government's offer is unprecedented, as vertical development rights — known as Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) — is offered only in the suburbs. TDR is not granted in the island city to avoid further congestion in the region. As a special case, however, the state will amend the existing development control rules (DCR) to offer TDR that can be used by the NTC in the island city. The NTC will get TDR on around 16 acres of land, as the Floor Space Index (FSI) allowed on the coastal plot is 1.33. The corporation can use TDR to develop its properties in south Mumbai.
The formula was thrashed out in Delhi at a meeting of state and central bureaucrats set up by the Prime Minister's Office.
"NTC officials want to ascertain the value of the TDR we are offering. They would like it to match the market value of the plot as closely as possible," said a senior bureaucrat who participated in the meeting on Thursday.
NTC officials were reluctant to part with the prime, sea-facing property and had planned to build a luxury hotel there. They claimed value of the land was Rs 300 crore per acre, an estimate rubbished by senior government officials.
"Since the plot falls in Coastal Regulatory Zone, NTC would not have been able to exploit it commercially by building a high-rise. The land use has been reserved as industrial and the FSI stands at 1.33," the official said.
He added that the TDR offered would allow the NTC to exploit its other mill lands lucratively.
On December 6, last year, activists from various Dalit political parties stormed the mill land, and refused to leave till the government promised to hand over the land for the memorial. They were holding the government to a promise made over a decade ago that an Ambedkar memorial would come up at Indu mill.
The state government's unique proposal to the NTC is in a bid to live up to this promise.