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Mumbai’s mill land amendment: Maharashtra govt’s move may open 130 acres for public use

Mumbai city news: Currently, there are 17 textile mill plots in the city that have still not gone for redevelopment

bhopal Updated: Jul 14, 2017 09:59 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
Mill Land,Textile Mills,Mumbai
Mumbai had 56 textile mills that occupied a staggering 600 acres of land and employed more than 2.5 lakh workers.

The state government’s move to amend the controversial Development Control Regulations (DCR) on textile mill development has the potential to generate approximately 130 acres of land for public use, mostly in central Mumbai.

Currently, there are 17 textile mill plots in the city that have still not gone for redevelopment. Together they occupy approximately 190 acres of land. Of this, 130 acres can be evenly split to construct gardens and playgrounds on the one hand and affordable houses on the other.

Thirteen of the plots are owned by the National Textile Corporation (NTC), while the remaining four are privately owned. These are mostly in the Parel-Lalbaug belt, erstwhile Girangaon — the land of textile mills.

The Urban Development Department (UDD), on July 7, issued a notification where it mandated that during the redevelopment of mill lands, one-third would go to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), one-third would be developed into open spaces and playgrounds, and the remaining would be given to the mill owner for redevelopment.

This was the original formula, which was unfortunately tweaked in 2001, so that the sharing formula was restricted only for vacant land and all built up structures were handed over to the mill owners.

According to Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), it is a good move, but it has come too late. “The city will get some of its due despite getting cheated for years. We can create some good amenities as well as open spaces on this land,” said Pankaj Joshi, executive director, UDRI.

The National Textiles Corporation (NTC) has 13 mills, of which five have closed down, four are running in Joint Ventures (JV) with different private companies and the remaining four are operational.

Mumbai had 56 textile mills that occupied a staggering 600 acres of land and employed more than 2.5 lakh workers. The textile mills were the lifeline of the city till the 1982 strike following a tussle between the managements and the workers’ unions over the wages to be paid to the workers. The prolonged strike led by the late union leader Datta Samant and the adamant stand taken by the mill owners, however, proved to the disastrous for the textile mills in the city. The whole industry collapsed.

The mills owners, lured by the real estate boom, began the redevelopment process. Under a formula for allowing development of land under defunct mills, the state government made a provision in the Development Control Rules allowing private owners as well as the NTC to develop their land if they surrender two-third of the land for affordable housing as well as public amenities like playgrounds and gardens. The city would have got at least 400 acres for public amenities and affordable housing, but the 2001 amendment spoiled things creating a windfall for mills owners while depriving the city of open lands. Through an amendment in the DCR in 2001 amendment (made during the tenure of former chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh), the state ruled that only the vacant land should divided while the portion occupied by mill structures would remain with the owners. It led to haphazard development of Central Mumbai. The Devendra Fadnavis government has restored the original decision now.

Mill workers unions called it a good move. “The government can start with the six NTC closed mills and since they are owned by the Central Government, there should be no problem. This move will make more houses available to the mill workers who have worked hard their entire life in these mills,” said Datta Ishwalkar, who heads the Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti.


Four Private Mills still to be redeveloped

1) Mukesh Mills: Colaba

2) Swadeshi Mills: Kurla

3) Khatau Mills: Borivali

4) Bradbury Mills: Kalbadevi

Box 2

NTC Mills

Sr No Name Location Area (Acres)

1) Madhusudan Mills Worli 18.05

2) Finlay Mills Lalbaug 10.40

3) Jam Mills Lalbaug 7.99

4) Sitaram Mills N M Joshi Marg 8.43

5) Kohinoor Mills Dadar 22

6) India United Mill No 1 Lalbaug 19.45

7) Apollo Mills N M Joshi 6.41

8) Gold Mohur Dadar 7.05

9) New City Byculla 6.70

10) India United Mills No 5 Ghodopdeo 5.56

11) Tata Mills Dadar 28.27

12) Podar Mills N M Joshi Marg 6.19

13) Digvijay Mills Lalbaug 9.33 (Data Given by Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samitee)

First Published: Jul 12, 2017 00:50 IST