If the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, tabled in the State Legislature is any indication, the state government has lost substantial revenue on one of its most important assets, land.
The PAC panel pointed to six instances between 1999 and 2004, wherein private companies did not pay premium for the land transferred or sold.
The panel also pointed to violations in a housing scheme at Kandivli, where a private firm, Conwood Realty, owned by Vinod Goenka, under scanner in the 2G spectrum case, was granted 14 acres of land to build public housing.
The PAC report for 2010-11, points to a loss of Rs133 crore (minimal estimate) to the state from six companies — Ms Kalyani Steel, Ms SM Daichem in Pune, Ms Modern food Industries, Ms Hotel Centaur Juhu, in Mumbai, Ms Prasanna Metallics, Thane — that did not pay the requisite transfer fee or premium after selling or transferring land leased by the government. In some cases, the firm has not paid lease rent.
In the agreement for the Kandivli scheme, the government asked the developer to hand over 10% affordable homes created. The cabinet sub committee eventually dropped this clause in 1996, thus allowing the developer to sell all flats at commercial rates and make an additional profit of around Rs16 crore.
“We have made recommendations in each case. The findings represent violations at the cost of the exchequer by corporates and we have sought recovery of lost revenue and action against responsible officials,” said Nawab Malik, PAC member.
The report states Kalyani Carpenters, sister concern of Pune firm Bharat Forge, was given 25 acres of land in 1999 on the condition that it pay a certain premium after the government surveyed the land and ascertained its value. However, the assistant director of town planning did not survey the land and the firm did not pay the premium.
The PAC panel noted that the state issued a notice to recover Rs34.60 crore from the company, but failed to do so. It recommended that state recover dues at the current market value.
In the case of Modern Food industries, two government firms, which were given land at subsidised rates, were acquired or amalgamated with multinational company Hindustan Unilever. The company sought a change in land title but was not willing to pay the collector a transfer premium of Rs26.25 crore. The PAC recommended action against erring officials and recovery in this case.