Mumbai: plan to develop port lands to face errant tenancies | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai: plan to develop port lands to face errant tenancies

As part of its effort to free up as much land as possible for the city's development, the MPLDC has identified hundreds of acres of land, which is currently being occupied by expired leases and has asked the MbPT to free them up immediately.

mumbai Updated: Dec 11, 2014 22:34 IST
Kunal Purohit

The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT)’s attempts to free up more land will begin with errant tenancies. As part of its effort to free up as much land as possible for the city's development, the Mumbai Port Land Development Committee (MPLDC) has identified hundreds of acres of land, which is currently being occupied by expired leases and has asked the MbPT to free them up immediately.

The MPLDC has, in its recommendations presented to Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday, said this land can be opened up for the development of amenities for the city if the MbPT takes action. The MbPT has now proposed forcible eviction as well as making non-compliance of lease agreements a cognisable offence.

In its presentation on Thursday, the MPLDC, according to sources who attended the meeting, identified a total of 462 leases that have expired, but continue to have lessors occupying the areas. These expired leases alone are spread over a massive area of 245 acres.

Of the total land with the port trust, nearly 36% of the land has been leased out to various entities, including government agencies.

According to sources in the meeting, Gadkari instructed the port trust to take action against the defaulters. “The minister has instructed MbPT to take strict action against these defaulters by not just taking the land back, but also charging market rates to recover the arrears from these errant lessees,” said the source.

The MbPT, too, sources said, has some aces up its sleeve to ensure action is taken against errant lessees. In its report to the MPLDC, the port trust proposed it will make non-compliance of the lease agreement a non-cognisable offence and the defaulter be prosecuted. This comes in light of the fact that most leases have not been renewed as the tenants have made illegal alterations or changed the use of the land, violating the agreement.

With the proposed modification, the port trust is hoping to rein in all the tenancies and act against them. The port trust has also proposed to ask for police aid in evicting tenancies that refuse to vacate their land, despite being asked to. In addition to expired leases, the MPLDC has also asked MbPT to look at the 1,759 monthly leases that occupy 164 acres because sources said, it suspected many of these leases, though renewed, have discrepancies that can be acted on.