The sale of a 7.6-acre Mafatlal Industries plot in Byculla to Gliders Buildcon, a subsidiary of Piramal Realty, for Rs 605.80 crore may be one of the biggest real-estate transactions in recent times, but it is not without controversy.
When the Mafatlal mill occupying this plot shut in 1999, the Mumbai Collectorate had decided to repossess the land and use it to expand the cramped Byculla zoo.
Then, in 2004, the state changed its mind and decided to allow Mafatlal to use half the plot, on condition that the
other half be handed over for the zoo.
Now, environmentalists are unhappy about the sale, saying this land was never meant to be on the open market and arguing that the entire plot should have been repossessed and used to improve the zoo, which is currently in the midst of a makeover.
“This development has come at the expense of the zoo,” said environmentalist Debi Goenka. “This land was an excellent opportunity to create better homes for animals that have been suffering in cramped cages for years. The state should put its foot down and not allow this transaction to proceed.”