The city’s most vexed inter-government land dispute, involving an over 45,000 sqm plot in Bandra (E), now has the higher-ups in the government involved
The city’s most vexed inter-government land dispute, involving an over 45,000 sqm plot in Bandra (E), now has the higher-ups in the government involved. Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has written to Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, complaining that the state government has not followed its own orders issued in December 2012 to demarcate the plot and issue a property card for it.
The land involved in the dispute between the state government and Western Railway is estimated to cost anything between Rs4,000 crore to Rs5,000 crore. It is crucial for financing phase two of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), and not being able to commercially exploit it would seriously jeopardise its progress.
The state owes around Rs250 crore to the railways as payment for work completed under phase two, and the matter has already been a subject of a string of letters written by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation, the executing authority for the railway-related works under MUTP.
Sources said Bansal’s letter categorically blames the slow progress of the demarcation of the land and issuance of a property card for the plot close to Bandra station on its eastern fringe, near Kherwadi.
In the letter, Bansal has told the state that unless the plot is monetised, the chances of critical projects under phase two of the MUTP floundering and coming to a standstill are very high.
“Under an order given by the revenue minister on December 4 last year, the state government accepted the railway’s contention that as per the maps provided by railways dating 1917 and 1939, the land belonged to the railways. The next step as per the order was that the land was to be measured, demarcated and then a property card issued for it. That completes the process of giving railways total possession of the land. However, since the order, the progress on these steps has been painfully slow and the railway minister has highlighted it in his letter to the CM,” an official said.
Western Railway chief spokesperson Sharat Chandrayan confirmed that such a letter had been sent and that the state had been asked to expedite the process.
City survey officer of Bandra, PD Musale said that work on the procedures involved was in progress, but refused to comment further.
The 45,000 sqm plot has been at the centre of a massive tussle between the state and the railways regarding its ownership. It started back in September 2008 when the Rail Land Development Authority moved to auction the plot to garner revenue.
The matter soon landed in court after the state claimed that the land belonged to it and not the railways. It played out at the suburban collector’s office as well that of the divisional commissioner of Konkan before the revenue minister gave his order on December 4 last year, adjudicating that the plot belonged to the railways.
Officials of the revenue department and the railways first measure the plot using two methods: A manual one called the Plain Table Mapping and an electronic one, the Total Station Mapping and Survey. The latter was chosen in this case.
A total of 122 acres of land, starting from the railway bridge on the Mithi river right up to the western side of Bandra along the station road, was measured between ten days ending March 26.
The next step – the one that has been delayed so far – is where the land is mapped and the new map superimposed with the help of computers onto the existing official map of the state revenue department. The new map will then be the new official map that will hold sway over all property matters related to the plot henceforth.[box]
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