Sinlung /
31 October 2013

After Arunachal, Mizo Govt in Soup

By Sandeep Ashar

MumbaiThe contentious plot in Vashi. Narendra Vaskar

Mumbai, Oct 31 :  It's not just the Arunachal Pradesh government that brought in a private player to exploit commercial space on land allotted to it at subsidised rates in Navi Mumbai by the Maharashtra government. It turns out that Mizoram government has taken a similar route.

It has tied up with US Roofs — the same company that Arunachal government picked up for developing its plot — to build a state guest house and market the balance space commercially. On March 9, 2010, CIDCO had signed a lease agreement with the Chief Secretary of the Mizoram government allocating a 21,348-sq ft plot for the guest house. Like in Arunachal Pradesh's case, the agreement bars the Mizoram govermment from transferring or assigning rights or using the plot for any other purpose.

Citing financial constraints, the Mizoram government, however, involved USR in the project.

Mizoram's acting chief secretary M Sathiyavathy said a formal agreement was yet to be signed with the developer. An official communication to CIDCO in 2011 by the Mizoram government, however, spells out the details of its arrangement with USR.

On November 1, 2011, K T Lalrikhuma, Deputy Secretary, General Administration Department, Mizoram, informed the CIDCO Managing Director that as per the draft agreement between USR and his government, the developer will be allowed to exploit 75 per cent of the built-up space while constructing the guest house at his cost on the remaining space. In response, the Manager (Town Services) of CIDCO, on November 30, 2011, said, "While any such BOT (build-operate-transfer) arrangement had no relevance since the lease agreement prohibited it, the Mizoram govermment was free to award a contract for the purpose on terms it deemed fit and suitable."

Newsline found a display board indicating that USR was a "contractor" for the Mizoram Bhavan (see pic). On Tuesday, The Indian Express had reported how the Arunachal Pradesh government found itself in the dock for sub-leasing the 26,375-sq ft Navi Mumbai plot it had received at subsidised rate. Documents obtained under the Right To Information (RTI) Act reveal that authorities of Mizoram and Uttarakhand, too, were firming up plans to allow private developers to commercially exploit lands similarly allotted to them.

However, the developer's official website has advertised the property as commercial and available for sale or lease. Building plans, accessed under RTI, show that the total construction proposed was over 50,000 sq ft. The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation is yet to grant commencement certificate for this work. Local realtors confirmed that the current market rates for commercial properties in the region was Rs 25,000 per sq ft.

CIDCO's Joint MD V Radha had said violations in the case of all such plots were being examined.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has written to Maharashtra counterpart Prithviraj Chavan for permission to undertake development on public private partnership basis on the plot allocated to it. Newsline has a copy of this communication.


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