WHILE the lease agreements of 11 clubs and gymkhanas on government land are in the process of being renewed, collectorate officials are having trouble figuring out the new rates of the lease rent for the Mumbai Police Gymkhana on Marine Drive, which has no prior lease agreement. Based on the current ready reckoner rates and as per the norms of the state revenue department’s new lease policy, the Police Gymkhana may have to shell out Rs 2.73 lakh as annual rent.
Collectorate officials said while all other gymkhanas have prior lease agreements and have been paying a certain amount as rent every year, the Police Gymkhana was the only one which has not paid any rent to the collector since its inception. “We have no records or any prior lease agreement pertaining to the land occupied by the Police Gymkhana. All we know is, they are occupying around 7,000 sqm of land and that as per the revised ready reckoner rates, their annual rent works out to around Rs 2.73 lakh,” said an official.
Members of the Police Gymkhana administration, however, said they were not liable to pay any rent since they have ownership over the land. Archana Tyagi, Joint Commissioner (administration) and a member of the Police Gymkhana administration, said, “According to a government resolution on gymkhanas along Marine Drive, which dates back to 1943, it had allotted the land to the police department. The Police Gymkhana came into existence in the mid-1990s and we have not paid any rent as we have ownership.” She added that there shouldn’t be any new lease agreement as they own the land.
Senior officials at the collectorate said that earlier this month, they had written to the Police Gymkhana, asking them to produce the documents which indicate they have ownership over the land. “They wrote to the collector last week and have sent the relevant documents to prove the police department has ownership over the land. We are looking into the documents and will take a call shortly,” said Mahesh Ingle, superintendent of land records.
According to the police, gymkhanas are divided into three categories depending on plot size. Clubs and gymkhanas spread over 20,000 sqm fall in the ‘A’ category like the Bombay Gymkhana Western India Football Association while others like PG Hindu, Parsi, Islam, Grant Medical College, Wodehouse and Wilson Gymkhanas come under the 10,000-20,000 sqm in the ‘B’ category. Smaller plots including Catholic, Princess Victoria Mary Gymkhana and Police Gymkhana fall in the ‘C’ category.