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The three-acre plot in Bhosari bought by Mahatashtra’s Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse on April 28 this year was due for imminent acquisition by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), according to details of communication between the Pune district administration and the MIDC obtained under the Right to Information Act by The Indian Express.
While Khadse has bought the plot from its original owner, one Abbas Ukani, for Rs 3.75 crore, its market value is estimated to be around Rs 23 crore and the compensation under the new land acquisition policy of 2013 could be many times the market value.
The land surrounding the plot in question has already been demarcated as industrial plots. This was the only plot left among the five neraby plots that have been acquired in the area for industrial purposes, MIDC officials said.
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“The land was already earmarked for MIDC way back in 1968 under Section 6 of MIDC rules and all the plots were acquired eventually, barring this three-acre plot. We can acquire it anytime now. Only the ownership only has changed,” a senior MIDC official said.
On the amount of compensation, the official said it would be decided only after the plot’s acquisition. There is a vast difference between the compensation given under the MIDC Act and under the new land acquisition policy of 2013, which could be twice to thrice the market value, he said.
Meanwhile, according to details of communication between the Pune district administration and the MIDC, as shown in the RTI reply, a letter was sent by the district land acquisition office to the joint CEO MIDC on February 24 this year, reminding the latter of its earlier letter to the industries department in 2013 to take a final decision on the three-acre plot. The letter mentions how Ukani, the owner of the plot, was demanding compensation under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation Act 2013 and had even filed a case in the High Court that he was not being compensated although his land was being used for industrial purposes by the MIDC. The letter seeks MIDC intervention for a final decision on the plot.
Also, in a letter written to the district administration in 2012 by the former CEO of MIDC, it has been mentioned that the area already had been “demarcated into 45 plots” for industrial purposes.
Interestingly, in 2010, Ukani’s attempt to sell off the three-acre plot was scuttled by the MIDC, which got its name mentioned in the seven-by-twelve extracts of this plot under “other rights” although the land acquisition was yet to be completed. However, the MIDC apparently raised no objection when Khadse bought the plot last month, officials said.
On his part, the minister has said he would return the land if its title was not clear. “I will give the land to MIDC if they require it,” he told The Indian Express.