Maharashtra government takes back 5 lakh sq.ft land allotted to WTC in Cuffe Parade

Maharastra government takes back 5 lakh sq.ft land allotted to WTC in Cuffe Parade
WTC, Cuffe Parade. Picture Courtesy: India Travel Blog

After finding grave violations of the terms set while allocating the plot in 1970, the Maharashtra government on Thursday took back the land on which the World Trade Centre (WTC) is located in Cuffe Parade, South Mumbai.

The decision comes two months after Mumbai District Collector Ashwini Joshi sent notices to WTC management for not paying the requisite dues to the state since 2005.

The state had leased the plot to the WTC for a period of 99 years in 1970 under a 50 percent profit sharing basis. Although a part of the plot was taken back by the government in 1976 and it still had 46,000 sq.mt (around 5 lakh sq.ft) land left with it.

According to Joshi, the the land was originally allotted to M Visvesvaraya Industrial Research and Development Centre (MVIRDC), which then affiliated itself (sub-leased it) to WTC- New York.

“The land on which the WTC building stands, has been taken back. The land was originally given to MVIRDC, which later affiliated itself to WTC- New York. People running the WTC indulged in several violations of the conditions set by the government,” Joshi told news agency PTI.

“The grave violations included disposing of the premises without the sanction of the government, keeping premises under-utilised, not paying dues and opening of subsidiaries without permission to dispose of capital investment received by them,” she said.

When the government learnt about the scope of violations six months back, it asked her to hear out “MVIRDC managing committee and MVIRDC lessees association (that had complained to the government)” and the report was sent to the government in September.

“The violations were of serious nature and against the terms set by government in its GR, under which the land was allotted to them. Thus, after giving several notices to them and resultant unsatisfactory explanations, we passed this order,” she said.

According to a Mirror report, the centre also violated the primary lease condition, which stated that the premises would be used to host trade and industrial exhibitions, promote trade in Maharashtra, and set up world class facilities like business centres.

Former Union Minister Kamal Morarka and industrialist Vijay Kalantri manage the WTC’s affairs in their capacity as president and vice president respectively.

The government will likely run the WTC and directly collect rent from the commercial establishments operating within the premises.

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