Mumbai: Port trust to free up land, crack down on errant leaseholders

  • Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 31, 2014 22:09 IST

Even as the report of a Centre-appointed panel on ways to open up Mumbai’s port land is yet to be submitted, efforts to free up the land have begun.

After prodding by the port land development committee and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) is all set to crack down on leaseholders who have violated the norms or whose leases have expired.

Of the total land under the port trust, 36% -- 680 acres of the total 1,800-acre port land -- has been leased out to private and public bodies.

According to sources, the action, which includes evicting illegal tenancies, demolishing illegal structures and charging hefty penalties, will begin in the next two months. The trust is also mulling hearing the 603 pending cases filed by leaseholders facing eviction in fast-track courts.

HT had, on November 27, reported how Gadkari had asked the MbPT to initiate such action.

The port trust has almost completed the detailed study on the status of each of the 2,700 leases. “We are almost done with the study which tells us whether the leaseholder has committed breaches or whether their term has expired. This study will help us take action against errant leaseholders,” said Ravi Parmar, chairman of the MbPT.

While Parmar refused to divulge further information, sources in the port trust said a large number of leaseholders are guilty of committing violations. “We realised that almost all leases have either committed illegalities or are occupying land despite their expiry of the tenure,” said an MbPT official.

According to the report, of the total 1,800 acres, expired leases occupy at least 13% of the land. There are a total of 462 different leases which occupy this land.

Sources said action will have to be initiated after taking into account a 2004 Supreme Court judgement, which had asked it to condone breaches and leases expiring till September 2012. The land development panel, in its yet-to-be submitted report, had stressed on strict action against errant leaseholders.

* While the report of a Centre-appointed panel on ways to open up the city’s port land is yet to be submitted, the Mumbai Port Trust is set to act against errant leaseholders
* Under the scanner
* Expired leases
* Leaseholders who have violated the lease agreement

Port land: the break-up
* Land used for port operations: 35%
* Land let out in leases: 36%
* Land used for infrastructure: 20%
* Area outside the eastern waterfront (like in Worli, Govandi, Titwala): 6%

Details of the leases
* Land held by private bodies: 50%
* Land held by oil, petroleum and chemical companies: 26%
* Land held by defence authorities: 12%
* Land held by public sector units: 1%

Existing long leases
Total land held: 246.73 acres

Expired leases
Total land held: 244.06 acres

15-month leases
Total land held: 25.6 acres

Monthly leases
Total land held: 163.8 acres

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