The ambitious textile mill museum project has been put on the back-burner for now. As, to put an end to the land-sharing deadlock, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to return a portion of the land - on which the museum project was to come up - to the National Textile Corporation (NTC).
The Rs 130-crore museum project to chronicle the history of mill lands in the city was announced in 2009. When the NTC started an auction on 25 mill lands, the civic body got 61,000 sq m of land for redevelopment, 33% of the land being auctioned as per the land-sharing formula devised by the state government. But, as only seven mills were auctioned subsequently, the NTC pointed out that the civic body had received more land than it was entitled to.
Consequently, the Building Proposal (BP) department has now written to the NTC that it will return 17,000 sq m of land within the India United Mill 2 and 3 in Kalachowkie, which has no heritage structures on it, to the corporation. The BP department, meanwhile, is still to respond to the letter.
The civic body will, however, retain 44,000 sq m of land in the same premise. As the land has six heritage structures - all in dilapidated condition - the civic body may find it difficult to seek permission from the heritage committee to demolish the structures to make way for the museum.
The civic body is yet to receive Rs20 crore promised by the NTC for the project. Also, the restoration of heritage structures will hike the project cost. Municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar does not want to spend so much money on the museum. The ruling Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, too, is not keen on the project.
Bhalchandra Shirsat, chairman of the improvements committee, said that the ruling alliance is not against the museum project. "But, the mill workers need to get houses first. After that, we can build a museum in the mill compound," said Shirsat.