The Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) has urged the Bombay high court (HC) to save a prime plot measuring 40,425 square meters at Powai, earmarked for the institute, from getting de-reserved.
The institute has also sought a direction from the state government to acquire the land, shown in the development plan (DP) for the city as reserved for the expansion of IIT-B at the earliest, and hand it over to the institute.
A division bench of justice Vasant Naik and justice CV Bhadang last week adjourned the hearing on the petition to January 29 after assistant government pleader Bharat Mehta sought time to file an affidavit in reply on behalf of the state government.
According to the petition, the land was reserved for IIT-B in 1993-94 and accordingly shown reserved for the purpose in the sanctioned DP for the city. The institute got to know about the reservation in its favour only in 1999. It immediately addressed letters to the Maharashtra urban development department and the collector, Mumbai suburban district, requesting them to take steps to acquire the property.
On March 8, 2002, IIT-B received the first response from the revenue officials, stating that the price of the land was fixed at Rs 11,600 per square meter, aggregating to Rs 50.13 crore for the entire plot. A year later, the institute, however, expressed inability to pay such the huge acquisition cost. It urged the district collector to take into consideration that IIT-B was an educational institute and requested the state government to hand over the property free of cost.
Three years later, the institute received another letter from the collector’s office disclosing the new rate fixed for acquisition of the 40425-square-meter plot – Rs 28,500 per square meter, which would require IIT-B to pay sum of Rs 118 crore as the acquisition cost.
IIT-B then approached high court last year, after a private developer, claiming through the owners of the land, issued purchase notice under section 127 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966, to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) calling upon it to acquire the property at the earliest.