It has taken the state government eight years, three reports, two consultants, two governments, multiple opinions of different ministers, and huge loss to the state exchequer to get the new lease policy on track.
The high court had asked the government to form a new lease policy in August 2004. Based on calculations under the new policy, the state’s revenue loss has been substantial despite criticism that the charges are much lower than market rates.
Government records show that in 2011-2012, the state could recover only Rs8.6 crore — a measly 12% of the Rs70.75 crore supposed to be paid by the 1,577 plot owners. This was revealed by right to information (RTI) records obtained by former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who has been questioning the lease policy.
Revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, who was instrumental in getting the policy on track, told Hindustan Times: “There is a long history attached to the policy formulation, with the court striking down the policy we formed in 1999. We have followed all court judgments to formulate the present one.”