Saturday, August 28, 2010

‘First City’ reaping benefit of crores on 10-acre free land in MIHAN-Nagpur-HITAVADA

‘First City’ reaping benefit of crores on 10-acre free land-HITAVADA

Staff Reporter

AFTER gobbling up an additional 10-acre land free from Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) in lieu of curtailment of height of twelve towers as they interfered with the landing and take-off path of aircraft, M/s Reatox Builders and Developers is now aiming to make hundreds of crores of rupees through illegal construction of as many as 33 bungalows at a whopping price of Rs. 10 crore each as one more phase of its highly controversial First City project. When the firm is supposed to develop only residential flats on the additional land, it is proposing construction of posh bungalows, and that too with a permission (?) from the MADC.
Breaching its own affidavit before the High Court that the Reatox Developers will not indulge in sale of the First City flats to people who are not connected with the Special Economic Zone, the MADC has granted permission to the developer firm to build independent bungalows and indulge in brazen profiteering at the cost of farmers’ land acquired at throwaway price.
This mind-boggling gift worth hundreds of crores to promoters of First City project by the MADC has raised many eye-brows besides raising a serious question about the functioning of promoters of MIHAN-SEZ and M/s Reatox Builders - promoters of First City, who are reaping obnoxious benefit from a land received free of cost.
The promoters of First City are now planning to sell these 33 bungalows to city elites on the basis of a questionable letter from Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) permitting them to sell it to anybody, against the letter and spirit of the law of the land. Ironically, the MADC had repeatedly informed the Board of Approvals and High Court (see box) that entire residential project of First City is meant for employees and persons directly connected with SEZ.
MADC officials confirmed this new venture of M/s Reatox to construct bungalows within SEZ area. The MADC is already under fire for allotment of 31-acre land to M/s Reatox Builders for a paltry sum of Rs 72 lakh per acre when a nearby land owned by the Patel family had fetched a whopping Rs 2.55 crore per acre in one of the most expensive land deals in the region. The entire land in question itself was forcibly acquired from protesting farmers at a throwaway price.
MADC had permitted M/s Reatox Developers to consume 2.5 FSI for ‘First City’ project within the SEZ to construct houses for “persons directly connected with SEZ.” M/s Reatox Builders had planned twelve 18-storied towers, but the Airports Authority of India (AAI) curtailed the height since it was in aircraft landing funnel area.
Ostensibly to compensate for this loss of five floors in each of the proposed twelve towers, the MADC showed utmost generosity towards First City and awarded an additional piece of 10 acres of land free of cost, to construct additional flats in lieu of loss of units due to curtailment of height. Going by the then prevailing market rate on Wardha Road, this land was worth Rs 25 crore.
Now, this land is sought to be used for reaping additional profits without paying a single paisa to public exchequer and without bothering about terms and conditions laid down by the Board of Approvals of Union Ministry of Commerce. This has raised a disturbing question about the conduct of the MADC and its nexus with builders about misusing subsidised land for profiteering. Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti convenor Kishor Tiwari, who has lodged complaints with Chief Minister and other authorities against alleged land scam by MADC, described it as brazen land grab and shocking abuse of public land.

MADC’s affidavit before HC

“OUT of the area that is being utilised for establishing Special Economic Zone, an area admeasuring 31 acres of land is being developed by M/s Reatox Builder and Developers, under power of attorney executed by the respondent no 1 (MADC) for construction of residential complex to accommodate employees/officers working in Special Economic Zone.” This is what the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) had told Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on an affidavit, duly sworn by a senior officer of MADC in 2008, which is now being violated.
The affidavit was filed by MADC in response to a petition filed by M/s Suretech Hospital questioning the motive of MADC to acquire its land at Mouza Chinchbhuvan for rehabilitation of project-affected persons of MIHAN. Incidentally, the rehabilitation work over 58 hectare land, too, has been entrusted to M/s Reatox Builders- the firm which is coming up with ‘First City’ project in MIHAN-SEZ area.

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