Serum CEO can’t occupy Rs 750 crore sea view mansion in Mumbai – ET RealEstate

MUMBAI: Six years after he successfully bid for the sprawling US consulate property at Breach Candy, India’s vaccine king, Adar Poonawalla, hasn’t been able to move into his Rs 750-crore acquisition.

Reason: The Indian government has so far refused permission for the 2015 sale of the two-acre, sea-facing mansion built by the Maharaja of Wankaner in the late 1930s.

The property was given on a 999-year lease to the US government in 1957. The US consulate operated from the Breach Candy premises called Lincoln House till about a decade ago before it was shifted to a much larger property in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).

Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, is believed to have already paid a substantial chunk of the Rs 750-crore winning bid. He told Mirror: “It is now for US and India to decide. I have nothing to do with it. Till they decide I am nobody in the picture. So, they have to take a call in the matter. I don’t want to comment and there is nothing I can do or say on the matter either.”

When asked if he planned to back out of the deal, he said, “No comments.” It is learnt that the agreement allowed Poonawalla to back out by August-end, 2021.

However, Gautam Saraf, MD of global property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, told Mirror that Poonawalla was still invested in the property and had not backed out. DTZ, which was the consultant for the sale of this property, later merged with Cushman & Wakefield.

In a statement to Mirror, a US consulate spokesperson said: “With respect to the US Consulate property in Mumbai known as Lincoln House, we are working with the Government of India to reach a satisfactory agreement to complete the lease transfer of the property.”

It is the defence estates department under the Union ministry of defence, which has stalled the deal since 2015, claiming the land belonged to it.

Two years ago, Adar had told this correspondent that this department had been holding on to the permissions without citing any reasons. “This is bureaucratic harassment,” the CEO & ED of Serum Institute of India and son of industrialist Cyrus Poonawalla, had then said.

Adar had met two defence ministers, Manohar Parrikar and Arun Jaitley, who both passed away, to resolve the issue. Despite their assurances, nothing moved. An email Mirror sent to the defence estates department remained unanswered.

Recently, the New York Times reported that top officials in the US government took it up with the Indian government including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo who wrote to the external affairs minister.

In 2011, the US government had set a reserve price of Rs 850 crore for the three-storied consulate building but had found few takers because of development restrictions.

In 2012, Tata Housing Development Company (THDC) had emerged as the front-runner for Lincoln House and had almost matched the reserve price of Rs 850 crore.

However, the deal did not progress further because of regulatory issues.

The property has a large piece of open land in its sea-facing backyard, which housed a tennis court and a small garden patch. It is a Grade-III heritage property.



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Mumbai Metro train trials to start by early 2022 – ET RealEstate

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MUMBAI: A day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray gave the go ahead, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) on Friday said it plans to start trial runs for the Mumbai Metro 3 line by early 2022.

The state government has permitted the MMRCL to create a temporary facility – a train delivery and testing track area for the technical trials of the prototype 8-coach trains due to arrive here by December, said MMRCL Managing Director Ranjit Singh Deol.

After a two-week period to assemble the train coaches, by January 2022, the trials for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ fully-underground Mumbai Metro 3 corridors shall start, he added.

The trials will be conducted from the mouth of a ramp on the west of the Marol-Maroshi Road in Andheri east, in an area vacated by diversion of the road to an upcoming underpass.

The ramp – which connects the underground part of the Metro line with the surface – coming up here is around 225 metres long.

Presently, two metro trains of 8-cars each are ready, a third is being manufactured and for the testing programme of the prototype train, the parking will be at at the temporary facility at Marol-Maroshi Road, said Deol.

The development comes amid apprehensions that a Centre-State tug-of-war for the car-shed depot may delay the project by two years while an alternative site is being acquired for the prestigious Mumbai Metro Line 3.

Thackeray has also directed the MMRCL not to chop a single tree in the Aarey Colony area – which was rejected as the original proposed site for the car-shed – and instead build the ramp in Marol-Maroshi Road for conducting the train trials.

The manufacturer, Alstom, has already conducted technical trials of the 8-car trains in SriCity, Andhra Pradesh, and now the trains will be coming to Mumbai for rigorous trials of 10,000-kms before the Mumbai Metro 3 operations begin with 31 trains.

Currently, 97 per cent of the tunnel work and around 70 per cent of the civil works for the Line 3 is ready and the technical trials of the prototype train would mark a major milestone, said Deol.

Incidentally, through a NITI Aayog delegation which visited the state recently, Thackeray again appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and end the tussle of the Kanjurmarg site selected for the Mumbai Metro carshed, which is stuck in a legal dispute.



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About 80 families stay put in Jewar villages over rehabilitation demands – ET RealEstate

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GREATER NOIDA: Families from six villages affected by the Jewar airport project will assemble at the rehabilitation and resettlement (RnR) site in Jewar Bangar township on Saturday morning to press for their pending demands.

About 450 families still have certain issues that remain unresolved, of which 70 to 80 families are staying put at their native villages without power and water connections. They claim that many benefits under the rehabilitation scheme have not been passed on to them.

These dissenting villagers are, in fact, camping under broken houses, tents or tarpaulin. Most of them are staying in Nagla Shareef Khan and Nagla Ganeshi, with a handful camping in Rohi too. In the absence of electricity, their lives are similar to the ones who stay in refugee camps with bare minimum resources.

Hasan Mohammad, 41, from Nagla Shareef Khan is one such villager.

He claims that benefits due to his son Nasruddin have not been offered under the RnR scheme. Though an adult member of the displaced families is eligible for Rs 5 lakh and a plot, Nasruddin has not got the money or other benefits.

The team constituted to address the grievances of the affected villagers had rejected the claims by dubbing Nasruddin as a minor. Under the RnR scheme and the Land Acquisition Act, benefits can be offered only to adults. To determine the eligibility of adults, authorities kept November 3, 2018, as the cut-off date.

Though Nasruddin’s Aadhaar card shows his date of birth as February 5, 2018, he was not found eligible for the RnR scheme. “He was not present in the village during the first two surveys. He is a bit slow and mostly remains indoors under someone’s watch,” said his father.

Similarly in his early 40s, Shiv Kumar stayed back in Rohi. “My four sons have not been offered RnR benefits and plots. We submitted all the documents to the team of officials that visited our village in July. Some left out children were included but my sons were shown as outsiders by the team,” he said.

Grievances pertaining to RnR scheme benefits of several others from Nagla Shareef Khan, Nagla Ganeshi and Rohi such as Fakruddin, Haseena and Harpal also remain unsolved.

When contacted, sub-divisional magistrate of Jewar, Rajni Kant said, “We are going to visit the RnR site on Saturday morning. We will make a list of families having grievances. Though we have already disposed of the grievances in July, issues that appear genuine will be examined again.”



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Coimbatore corporation to conduct special camps to regularise unapproved layouts – ET RealEstate

COIMBATORE: The Coimbatore Corporation will conduct special camps to regularise unapproved layouts and housing plots which were developed between 1980 and 2016. The camps will be held at the respective zonal offices between 10 am and 5 pm on October 11.

All the housing plots in the layouts can be regularised if the owner of one of the housing plots had got a sold out plot framework (SPF) from the town planning department of the corporation.

The layout should have already got SPF from the local planning authority. Owners should take part with required documents for their land.

They can make payment for regularisation and development charges there itself. This will enable them to get building approval, drinking water and UGD connections and road facilities.

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