After a thumbs down from leaseholders in the suburbs, government plot lessees in the island city have also given a cold shoulder to the new lease policy under which rents have been hiked manifold and owners have been given the option to buy out the land.
Only 16 of the 340 plot owners in the island city who were sent notices have replied to the city collector by the June 30 deadline.
While 14 have agreed to renew their rental agreements at the new rates, only two leaseholders have shown interest in purchasing the land.
In the suburbs, where 129 notices were served, barely 10% of lessees had replied to the collector.
Hindustan Times has reported that 666 government leased plots in Mumbai, both in the island city and the suburbs, are up for lease renewal, with many paying meagre annual rents of up to Rs4,000 for occupying sprawling areas in key locations.
The new policy gives leaseholders the options to buy the plot at discounted rates —20% to 30% of the government-fixed ready reckoner rates (RRR), or pay revised rents from 2% to 25% of the RRR, hiking rents by almost 1,500 times in some cases.
The policy has seen a lot of opposition from activists and plot owners for different reasons.
While the activists allege public land has been dished out at discounted rates, leaseholders say paying such huge sums as revised rent is difficult.
In suburban Mumbai, while Shah Rukh Khan, whose sea-facing plot at Bandstand that has a market value of Rs200 crore will cost him only Rs8.3 crore, Captain Villa a society in Bandra which was paying an annual rent of Rs11.74 lakh has been asked to pay Rs16.28 lakh or a one-time occupancy charge of Rs7.08 crore.
“We are waiting for more responses and will be deciding the next course of action shortly,” said city collector Chandrashekhar Oak.
As far as suburban plots are concerned, the collector’s office will start conducting surveys from next week, during which a team will assess the ground situation.
“The plots will be checked for violation of lease conditions, and if all is clear, the leases will be renewed, or the plots will be given on occupancy as per the policy,” Oak said.