Mumbai Bandra (BA): A 43,000 square metre of railway land close to the in Bandra (East) station, which has seen three failed tenders for commercial development since May last year, is being readied again for commercial development. The railways is setting up a panel to re-valuate the land’s worth. However, the bad news for the construction industry is that the railway ministry has told Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) that the lease period of the land would be 45 years and not anything longer as building firms in the city had demanded.
Speaking to dna, YP Singh, vice-chairman of RLDA, said, “The ministry has said that the lease would be of 45 years. Of course, the system is such that after expiry of 45 years, the entity which got the lease will have the right to first refusal.
It means that after 45 years when the land is put up for bidding again, the firm holding the lease will be asked to match the highest bid that we get. In case he does, the entity gets lease of the land for another term. Or else, the highest bidder in the bid gets the land. We believe this is good enough and will attract firms as and when the land is put up for bidding.”
Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation had asked RLDA to go for a longer lease to attract the city’s construction industry.
Singh said that the revaluation of the land is mandated by the law if more than three years have passed since the last valuation. “This process of valuating the land will take 3-4 months. After this groundwork bidding would take another couple of months. We believe that we can put up the land for bidding for commercial development in 6 months,” said Singh.
The plot of land has been one of the most vexed and long-running land dispute between the state and the Central government — represented by Western Railway in this case — with the fight going back almost a decade. It started way back in September 2008, when the RLDA moved to auction the plot to garner revenue. The matter soon landed in court after the state claimed that the land belonged to it rather than the railways. The matter played out at the Suburban Collector’s office as well the office of the Divisional Commissioner of Konkan before the state revenue minister gave his order on December 2012 adjudicating that the plot belonged to the railways.
In November last year, WR applied for a property card for the land.
The plot sale is crucial for the finance of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project’s (MUPT) phase II works and not being able to commercially exploit it would jeopardise several railway projects. Under railway rules, one-third of the proceeds will be used for a railway project in Mumbai, one-third for a railway project in Maharashtra (outside Mumbai) and the rest for a railway project anywhere in India.