Companies

Bombay Dyeing yet to give up prime Mumbai land to govt

Manisha Jha Mumbai | Updated on March 13, 2018

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Apex court deadline to hand over two-thirds of mill land ended on Feb 8





Bombay Dyeing could face contempt of court or the forcible takeover of its mill land as it has failed to follow Supreme Court orders.

The Nusli Wadia-promoted textile company is yet to hand over 64,654 square metres of prime land worth about Rs 1,058 crore to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA). The deadline for the handover, ordered by the Supreme Court, ended on Friday (February 8).

This was despite the company issuing a public statement to the stock exchanges in August agreeing to implement the apex court verdict.

Bombay Dyeing’s projects coming up on its erstwhile mill plots are Spring Mills in Dadar-Naigaon and another in Lower Parel for residential-cum-commercial and retail use. Of the total land parcel to be handed back, MHADA’s and BMC’s shares work out to 32,326.53 sq.m. each. Of this 26,556.01 sq.m. is at Spring Mills and 5,770.52 sq.m. at Lower Parel.

All attempts to reach the company management went unanswered.

Market value

According to real estate consultants Jones Lang la Salle, given that the market value of land at Lower Parel stands at an estimated Rs 30,000/sq.ft. and the same at Naigaon at Rs 10,000-12,000 a sq. ft, the value of the government agencies’ share of land stands at Rs 1,058.7 crore.

On August 9, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld a Bombay High Court order that had asked the textile company to hand over one-third of its mill land each at Dadar-Naigaon and Lower Parel to the BMC and the MHADA for development of open spaces, transit camp accommodation and houses for mill workers under the mill land redevelopment scheme and Development Control Rules 58 (DCR).

This policy mandates that mill land be divided into three parts, with one-third going to BMC for open spaces, one-third to the MHADA for low-cost housing and the remaining third to the owner for construction activity. The apex court had given the company management six months to give up the land.

“In case the company fails to hand over the said land, the MCGB and MHADA shall be at liberty to forcibly take possession of the concerned lands,” ruled the Supreme Court Bench of R. M. Lodha and Anil R. Dave last August.

With the deadline now past, the Maharashtra Government will seek advice from its legal department before deciding on the next course of action, according to senior officials at MHADA and BMC.

A MHADA official said: “The company had made a representation to hand over the land but the land alignment in the plot was not as per the plan sanctioned by the BMC and was in the same place but at a different location so we did not take it over. We need to re-look the matter legally to decide our next course of action.”

A legal department official at the BMC said: “As per law, our options include sending them a notice asking them to hand over the land or slap a contempt of court order for defying the apex court’s ruling. Even if they don’t handover the land they cannot simply sit and will have to approach the SC for modification of the earlier order.”

According to the Bombay High Court judgment, the Bombay Dyeing Textile Mills, which was allowed the running of cotton textile mills as an industrial user, could not have developed or redeveloped the land for commercial or residential purposes.

New allegations

To add fuel to the fire, the Maharashtra government recently told the Bombay High Court that the company allegedly obtained approval for its modified proposal to utilise 33,545 sq.m. of its 41,895 sq.m. mill land in Dadar-Naigaon for commercial development “in cahoots” with a section officer working in the Textile Department.

Denying these charges, in a statement, Jeh Wadia, MD, Bombay Dyeing, clarified that the affidavit pertained to the company’s textile modernisation scheme at its Worli property and not the Dadar one.

> manisha.jha@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 10, 2013

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