HC status quo on Nagpur’s KP Metro station, information centre works

Nagpur: City’s ambitious Metro Rail project received its maiden setback when the high court here stayed the work on information centre and Kasturchand Park (KP) station coming up on Satkar guest house land.

Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (NMRCL) had commenced work on a temporary structure for its information centre and that was to follow with permanent structure for metro station, parking, commercial complex etc on the land. NMRCL will now operate the centre in a temporary pandal and stop construction of permanent structure. NMRCL also cannot begin work on station and other activities without clearance from HC.

The land in dispute is situated on the opposite side of KP on Kamptee Road close to LIC square. The land was owned by the state government. Public works department used to run Satkar guest house it. It was abandoned many years ago and government had handed over the land measuring 1,01,144 sq.ft (9,400 sq.mt) to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). In 1995, MTDC leased out the land to Orbit Motels and Inns Pvt Ltd, a company founded by former minister late Shrikant Jichkar for building a hotel.

Citing non-development of project, non-payment of dues etc, the MTDC terminated the registered lease with Orbit Motels in 2002. Orbit Motels then challenged the termination in district court in the same year.

Since then the land is lying idle with dilapidated structure of Satkar guest house and some abandoned vehicles on it. NMRCL proposed to KP metro station between RBI square and LIC square on this land and requested the district administration for its possession. District administration came to know possession was with MTDC. MTDC claimed the land was in its possession and handed iot over to district administration in October end. The administration gave advance possession of the sprawling land to NMRCL in November subject to lease process. The administration sent letter to the government seeking permission to allot the land to NMRCL.

The land has compound wall around it. NMRCL demolished some portion of the wall and levelled the land. It erected a pandal and commenced Nagpur Metro Information Centre on November 26. Orbit Motels challenged the MTDC’s decision to hand over land to district administration and further to NMRCL in HC on the ground that litigation about it was going on in district court. In hearing held on Tuesday, HC ordered status quo on it.

Advocates Anand Jaiswal and Rajesh Shah represented Orbit Motels. Shah told TOI government authorities took law in their hands by giving possession to NMRCL. “Matter is sub-judice and land is in possession of Orbit Motels. NMRCL demolished the compound wall and made forcible entry into Orbit Motel’s property. They also also information centre on around 3,000 sq.mt land. It was against the law,” he said.

NMRCL managing director Brijesh Dixit said land was very important for Metro Rail project. “Information centre was opened to provide all details about the project to stakeholders. KP metro station is third most important in entire project. We have to complete it to ensure metro rail becomes a reality by 2018. Therefore need is to execute all works in speedy manner. We will continue to run the centre in whatever condition prevailing now and will wait for completion of legal process,” he said.

MTDC senior regional manager Hanuman Hede said land was in MTDC possession as lease with Orbit Motels had been terminated in 2002.

Deputy collector (revenue) Subhash Chaudhary said MTDC gave possession of land to district administation and hence it was handed over to NMRCL for Metro Rail project in larger public interest.

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