The Maharashtra government may reconsider the redevelopment of land by private textile mills in Mumbai. The state urban development is expected to prepare a status report on this soon.
The move is triggered by a Supreme Court judgment, directing Bombay Dyeing Mills to hand over a third of its land each to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) in six months, under the state’s development control rules.
The land would be used to develop open areas like gardens, transit camps and housing for mill workers.
According to data compiled by the state urban development department, 32 private textile mills were scheduled to hand over 1,05,000 sq mts to BMC and 62,000 sq mts to Mhada. However, so far, BMC has secured just 38,000 sq mts. The Supreme Court had asked the company to hand over 33 per cent of the company’s land each to BMC and Mhada.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior minister said the issue was discussed during the budget session of the state legislature. Subsequently, the urban development department had discussed this BMC and Mhada. “The government is quite committed on transparency and sanity in the redevelopment of textile mill lands. It is aware some mills have abided by the development control rules and handed over a third of the land each to BMC and Mhada. However, there are some mills that have not complied with these provisions and, therefore, the government will initiate action against these after the status check is complete.”
V Y Tamhane, secretary general, Millowners’ Association, Mumbai, told Business Standard, “Millowners’ Association feels the law of the land must be complied with. All the members of the association are willing to hand over the land to BMC and Mhada. Bombay Dyeing did not refuse to meet the obligation at any point of time. The only issue was the time by when the obligation had to be fulfilled. At the same time, if the mill offers physical possession of land to BMC and Mhada, it should not be considered a defaulter, as completion of legal formalities takes a lot of time.” He added he had no information on private sector mills that were not part of the association.
“Handing over the land was never an issue. The issue was by when….We have already considered handing over the land during the planning and designing of our properties and, therefore, this does not affect or delay any of our commitments to our esteemed customers on our recently-launched Residential Towers and Retail High Street,” said Jeh Wadia, Managing Director, Bombay Dyeing.
Meanwhile, textile workers’ union Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti has said the state government shouldn’t delay initiating action against defaulters. Datta Iswalkar, senior leader of the Samiti, said, “The land is required for constructing houses for mill workers. Besides, land is also necessary for open spaces, including gardens for Mumbaikars.”