Red-tape did not even spare chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, as babus scuttled his plan to open up a huge area in 11 villages near Panvel for a Smart City project, and a month later, after he was was apprised of the blunder, it was brought back on track.
Had it not been corrected, it would have been big blow to even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose Make in India mission propagates easy access to land and infrastructure for quick industrialization.
On February 17, when Fadnavis, as Cidco chairman, signed a Rs 10,000 cr land deal with villagers to develop a Smart City along the Pune Expressway during the recent Make in India summit at BKC, it came to light that at the same time his trusted Mantralaya babus took away the deal from under his nose by transferring the strategic rural area (9,000 acres) to another department through a government resolution (GR). The land is close to upcoming Navi Mumbai airport and is being eyed as the next industrial hub, with international majors like Foxconn being promised land in its proximity.
The CM’s March 18 deal with the local body of Khalapur and 10 other villagers will make available 9,000 acres within a year, for development of another Smart City around the international airport. But the urban development (UD) department officials released a GR that same day, that instead of Cidco, the land comes under the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s (MSRDC) jurisdiction. Either the officials were unaware that these villages were part of the Cidco deal or it was a tug-of-war between politicians and administrators who, at least for a month, forced the CM to fall back on his promise the day he made it. It took a month for him to get a GR that restored the land to Cidco, giving a lease of life to the first-of-its-kind CM-villagers agreement.
Though senior MSRDC officials said the change in agency would not have made a difference to the project, experts closely attached to the deal said it may have taken few more years for MSRDC to come up with its own Smart City detailed project report (DPR) and then discuss it with villagers to seal the deal.
The officials said the land in 11 villages, out of 85 they already possessed, was a smaller portion and they were not averse to giving it to Cidco. “The political leadership was to decide. Even if the land was retained, we could have developed it into a new urban magnet as MSRDC too has a strong force of chief engineers and planners who are capable of implementing such projects,” they said. MSRDC is developing a new office in Navi Mumbai for this purpose.
Cidco officials said though MSRDC could implement infrastructure projects like an expressway, Cidco being a developer of cities, had expertise and machinery to quickly develop new cities and maintain them.
“Instead of giving all the land to Cidco, as in earlier projects, villagers will be partners and will earn perpetual benefits with the increase in land value and growth in investment in their area,” said Anil Sule, an ex-urban planner, who is involved in conceiving the SPV and terms and conditions of the agreement between the villagers and Cidco.
The purpose | Creation of smart cities around upcoming Navi Mumbai airport
Special Purpose Vehicle * 15,000 persons from 11 villages have volunteered land partnership through a special purpose vehicle * The villagers have land spread across Khalapur, about 20-30km from Panvel * Cidco will retain 15% land and it will use 25% for creating civic amenities * The remaining 60% will belong to villagers and land lease holders, who will be the stake-holders with a primary share of Rs 4,050 per acre * Over the next five to 10 years, all villagers can get about Rs 2,500 per square metre (Rs 1-1.5 cr per acre) as compensation through land leases that are expected once the city’s development begins * By 2017, hundreds of domestic and international majors wanting to invest in a big way in Mumbai metropolitan region may have land easily available from this SPV, constituting villager land-owners * The deal was one of the major agreements Maharashtra signed to gather over Rs 8 lakh crore investment assurances from foreign and domestic companies during the Make in India Week Demetrius Harris Womens JerseyShare This