Acting swiftly following the Supreme Court verdict on land allotted to Bollywood director Subhash Ghai by the Vilasrao Deshmukh government in 2000,the state government is set to take back land from Ghais Whistling Woods International as early as in the next two-three working days.
Shyam Tagade,Managing Director of the Maharashtra Film,Stage and Cultural Development Corporation Ltd (MFSCDCL),which runs Filmcity,said he wrote to Whistling Woods on Wednesday evening asking the institution to hand over possession of 14.5 acres immediately. Procedures were also initiated on Wednesday evening to requisition City Survey officers for a physical demarcation of the land,a portion of the 20 acres allotted to Ghai in 2000.
I spoke to the CEO of Whistling Woods Ravi Gupta twice on the phone yesterday, said Tagade on Thursday. They have agreed to act as per the High Court order. Survey officials from the Mumbai Suburban Collectors office will assist in marking out the 14.5 acres,which will be taken into the government possession immediately. Tagade said this could take,at most,up to a weeks time. We are trying to do this in the next two to three days, he said.
On Wednesday,a Supreme Court Bench of Justices C K Prasad and H L Dattu ordered Ghai to return to the government 20 acres allotted to his film school and also pay rent for the period since 2000 at market rates. The Bombay High Court order had directed that simple interest also be levied. The SC order said Ghai had been treated like a blue-eyed boy.
Government sources said the immediate implementation of the Bombay High Court order after it was upheld by the apex court on Thursday was ordered by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
The remaining 5.5 acres on which the film institute building stands will remain in the possession of Whistling Woods until 2014 when the current batch of students completes its courses.
Government officials also said work would start immediately on valuation of the land and the built-up space. Lease rent of Rs 5.5 crore per year will be recovered from 2000 onwards for the 20 acres. If the cost of construction and investment in the building,which will eventually also become government property,is less than the lease rent,the difference can be recovered from Whistling Woods as arrears of land revenue. If the investment in the building is greater than the lease rent,the government would have to pay the difference to the institute,said Tagade.