The January 2020 letter of the deputy salt commissioner (Mumbai), which TOI has accessed, pegs the market rate based on the ready reckoner rate of 2019-20.
In a letter addressed to the salt commissioner in Jaipur, the deputy commissioner said if Rule 17 of the Central policy guidelines (which allow a 15% deduction in the ready reckoner rate) is applied, the market value reduces to Rs 2,852 crore.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority (MMRDA) had earlier agreed to pay for the land, which it requires to build a car shed for three different Metro lines: 3,4 and 6.
“The land requested by MMRDA falls under Arthur Salt Works. The land was leased for 99 years, which expired on 14/10/2016. The lease has not been renewed thereafter,” said the deputy salt commissioner’s letter.
The lessee, the Garodia family, though, moved court after the lease was terminated by the salt department back in 2004 for alleged violations of lease conditions. “As the lease has already expired, the ex-lessees are not entitled for any compensation. However, as the suit is pending in the court, appropriate decisions regarding compensation may be taken by the competent authority,” said the letter.
There have been multiple claimants on this land.
When the Shiv Sena-led state government decided to shift the Metro 3 car depot from Aarey to Kanjurmarg in late 2019, the Centre immediately intervened and said the land belonged to it and that the state had no claim over it.
Later, the Bombay high court, too, stayed the suburban collector’s decision to hand over the plot to MMRDA for the car shed. Meanwhile, the Garodia family, who claimed control over the land, too moved court to protect its interest.
The Garodias have signed a deal with construction giant Shapoorji Pallonji to develop the Kanjurmarg land for affordable homes.
Early this year, MMRDA filed an application before the high court asking for the land, stating it was willing to give all “benefits and compensation” to which the owner or lessee would be entitled under Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act.
“The full value of all interests in the said land will be protected and made available to the rightful claimants,” it said.
A section of the state bureaucracy, though, has questioned MMRDA’s undertaking to pay the market value of the land to the Centre.
When asked about MMRDA’s undertaking, a senior state government official told TOI: “There is no basis for it. If such an undertaking has been given, the state government is neither aware nor has it ratified it.”