Ambedkar memorial project: Maharashtra, Centre lock horns over worth of Prabhadevi land

Prime Minister Modi scheduled to lay foundation stone on October 4.

Written by Sandeep A Ashar | Mumbai | Published: September 21, 2015 1:12:09 am
Ambedkar memorial project, Ambedkar memorial, Prabhadevi land, Ambedkar project prabhadevi land, PM Narendra Modi, Modi inaugurate, mumbai news, indian express In May this year, the Centre had signalled an end to the long-standing impasse Textile Ministry entered into a tripartite agreement involving NTC and Maharashtra government for transferring the land. 

The deadlock between the Maharashtra government and the Centre over the transfer of 12-acre Indu Mill land in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi for the construction of a memorial of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar persists, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone for the memorial on October 4.

The National Textiles Corporation (NTC) — the Central government undertaking that occupies the 12-acre plot — is not giving it up so easily, and has been unwilling to accept the compensation offered by the state for the transfer of the land.

In May this year, the Centre had signalled an end to the long-standing impasse when the Union Ministry for Textiles entered into a tripartite agreement involving the NTC and the Maharashtra government for transferring the land to the state for the memorial.

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While a high-level committee comprising representatives from all three sides was appointed to effect the transfer, sources confirmed that it had so far failed to evolve a consensus on the compensation model.

Last week, at a meeting in Delhi, the Maharashtra government offered the NTC development rights worth Rs 1300 crore in lieu of the land. It offered to provide this either in the form of land outside Mumbai or as development rights certificate (DRC) — also known as Transferable Development Rights (TDR) — which could be utilised for construction projects in Mumbai.

But the NTC, which had earlier planned to use the plot for construction of a five-star hotel and a convention centre, however, continues to push for cash compensation. “Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has conveyed to the Centre that cash compensation was not possible given the state’s tight financial position,” said a source.

Incidentally, the plot’s value itself is a bone of contention. While the state government has claimed that the Indu mill plot is worth Rs 1,300 crore at current market rates, the NTC has pegged its worth at Rs 1,800 crore.

The sea-facing land falls in the coastal regulation zone (CRZ). Maharashtra government officials said the prevalent development control regulations, the plot’s location, and restrictions on development in CRZ areas, among others, were taken into consideration for the plot’s valuation.

Sources further said both the Centre and the state were keen to resolve the issue before Modi’s arrival in Mumbai to lay the memorial’s foundation stone. “The committee will meet again this week,” said a senior official.

Sources also said the NTC was unlikely to accept the state’s offer for a land of similar worth outside Mumbai. It has also insisted that the state commit to a deadline to provide the compensation.

The state, meanwhile, has so far committed that a new policy that will allow NTC to utilise TDR in lieu of the plot will come into force within three months.

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