The proposal to have a private party redevelop Mantralaya will be scrapped.
Deputy Chief Minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, who also heads the Public Works Department that moved the Rs 1,200-crore makeover proposal, told the Assembly on Monday that he will ask the Cabinet subcommittee on infrastructure to cancel the project.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said he will ask the state to make a budgetary provision for the makeover so that Mantralaya is rebuilt with government money.
The Opposition had recently accused the government of misleading the Centre by asking it to consider Mantralaya a slum and exempt it from Coastal Regulatory Zone rules. Opposition leaders said this was done to avail additional floor square index under the slum rehabilitation scheme.
This was the last on a list of allegations regarding the project.
Bhujbal denied the accusations on Monday. “I assume that the scrapping [of the proposal] will stop unwarranted allegations,” he said. “The area barring Mantralaya can be redeveloped through privatisation. I will ask my department to make a new proposal.”
The Cabinet sub committee had approved the project and Bhujbal was expected to take its approval for finalising the developer (IL& FS), who offered the highest bid during the tendering process last year.
The project was controversial since the beginning. Bhujbal expected the previous government to clear it, but Chief Minister Ashok Chavan stalled it because he wanted to re-examine it before the Assembly polls. The proposal did not get the final nod even after the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party returned to power.
Following allegations of irregularities, Chavan, who became the CM again, proposed an independent inquiry into the matter. Bhujbal was ready to face it, but the inquiry did not take off.
Chavan, meanwhile, proposed that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority should redevelop Mantralaya as part of its Nariman Point makeover plan. This started another row between the Congress and NCP.