Ambedkar memorial deal turns into goldmine for NTC

Maharashtra government to grant development rights worth Rs 3,200 crore to the National Textile Corporation that owns Indu Mill in Prabhadevi

Written by Sandeep A Ashar | Mumbai | Published: October 9, 2015 1:25 am
National Textile Corporation, Ambedkar memorial deal, Indu Mill land, Maharashtra government, BJP, TDR, Mumbai news The mill is spread over 12 acres in Prabhadevi, where property rates are currently hovering around Rs 25,000
per square foot. (PTI photo)

The BJP-led Maharashtra government will grant at least 13 lakh square feet of development rights certificates to the National Textile Corporation in lieu of using the Indu Mill land in central Mumbai to build a world-class memorial to Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.

The mill is spread over 12 acres in Dadar’s Prabhadevi, where property rates are currently hovering around Rs 25,000 per square foot.

Town planners in the state government said the value of the development rights certificates or transferable development rights (TDR) offered to the NTC would come to Rs 3,200 crore at current market rates.

The land value is expected to further go up, with the state government examining the possibility of freeing a portion of the land from coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms, where the extent of construction activity is restricted.

Sources said a proposal on whether some portion of the mill land could be removed from the ambit of CRZ norms by virtue of being more than 100 metres away from the high tide line of the Mahim Bay was being examined.

The state’s coastal authority had earlier redefined the Mahim shore as a bay citing provisions of the Centre’s latest CRZ rules.  While CRZ norms restrict construction activity near seafronts up to 500 m from the high tide line, the new rules brought out three years ago stipulated that the restriction would apply up to 100 metres around bays.

“Our initial estimates show that about 33 per cent of the mill land can be freed from CRZ norms,” said a senior state official.Days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the foundation stone for the memorial on the mill land, a high-level committee comprising representatives from the NTC, the Union Ministry for Textile, and the Maharashtra government has resolved that the NTC would be granted “reservation TDR” in lieu of handing over the land to the Maharashtra government for the memorial.

The Maharashtra government is in the process of unveiling a new TDR policy that will allow a TDR equivalent to 2.5 times the size of the mill land in lieu of the land transfer. While the NTC had earlier insisted on a cash compensation, sources confirmed that it has now settled for grant of TDR following a commitment from the state government that the new policy would be implemented within three months. The new policy would also permit the NTC to utilise or trade the development rights for additional construction rights in the island city, sources revealed.

While completion of the formalities regarding the land transfer are expected to take some time, the NTC issued a letter Thursday permitting the state government to go ahead with laying the foundation stone for the memorial.

Incidentally, the NTC had originally demanded a cash compensation of Rs 3,600 crore for the land, pointing out that a 5-star hotel had been sanctioned on an adjoining plot. The state government had at that time argued that the plot was located in a restricted zone and that its development potential was almost nil.

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