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BMC to decide on turf club lease

Did the lease end in 1994? Will Mahalaxmi race course’s lease agreement be renewed?

mumbai Updated: Apr 22, 2010 01:22 IST

Did the lease end in 1994?

Will Mahalaxmi race course’s lease agreement be renewed?

These issues will be raised in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which will take up a formal proposal to renew the lease agreement for one of Mumbai’s largest open spaces.

Data available with the BMC’s estate department says the agreement between the BMC and Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) has not been renewed by the BMC since 1994.

The lease expired in 1994, and was given one extension until May 31, 1995, by charging the club a rent of Rs 20 lakh for that period.

Since then, there hasn’t been any formal approval on the renewal of the lease, with the proposal still pending with the municipal body.

The proposal to renew the lease for the period from June 1994 to May 2013 will be tabled in the municipal corporation’s
next meeting.

With the controversy surrounding the club, the Shiv Sena is opposing the renewal.

Rahul Shewale, civic Standing Committee chairman, said: “Yes, the lease has not been renewed since 1995. We oppose the extension of the lease due to its patchy record. We will ask the administration to start the plot acquisition [for the public] process soon.”

The turf club has been under the BMC scanner for violation of norms of the lease agreement.

The violations include the club sub-leasing a portion of the 211-acre racecourse — the Gallops restaurant — to a third
party without the BMC’s consent for a period of 10 years.

“The club and its tenants have been entangled in a court battle for years now,” Shewale added. Former mayor Shubha Raul has also demanded termination of the lease, and that the plot be taken back.

However, RWITC Chairman Vivek Jain said: “We have a signed copy of the agreement, which we haven’t registered with the BMC because a high court order restrained us from doing so.”

When Hindustan Times spoke to Municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya, he said: “I am not aware of the issue.”

After an out-of-court settlement between the turf club and Gallops restaurant, which was given in-principal approval earlier this month, the proposal will come up for final approval in the turf club’s board meeting next week.

First Published: Apr 22, 2010 01:22 IST