Saturday, March 28, 2015

Modi Cabinet "handed over" Rs 144 crore prime Ahmedabad land for Rs 4 lakh

By Our Representative
If documents released to the media are any indication, the Gujarat government has handed over a precious plot of land, estimated to be costing Rs 144.50 crore, to a private company, S E Transstadia of Mumbai at a throw away price of Rs 4.02 lakh in order to build for "setting up a massive multipurpose sports stadium and recreation complex in Ahmedabad" on a prime land.
The "recreation complex" is to supposed to involve hotels, restaurants and shopping centres, apart from the sports complex. The plot of land once housed the collapsed Abad Dairy, and is situated in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's previous assembly constituency, Maninagar.
The land was handed over despite the fact that the Gujarat government's industries and mines department prepared a Cabinet note on March 18, 2011, quoting the opinion of the revenue and finance department, which said that the "valuation committee in its meeting on July 6, 2010 fixed rate of Rs 38,650 per sq metres", adding, "Accordingly the cost of 37,388 sq metres of land works out to be Rs 144.50 crore".
The revenue and finance committee note further says that the "annual rent of this land on the basis of 15 percent of the price works out to be Rs 21.67 crore", adding, the rent of 15 percent of market price of the land should be "revised after review every five years."
It further notes, "There can’t be any change in the purpose of allotment or transfer of the land", the use of the land "should start within two years", land should be "used for the purpose it is allotted", and without prior permission of district collector, Ahmedabad, "the land can't be sold, leased or transferred".
Despite this, the Cabinet, under then chief minister Narendra Modi, came up with a Government Resolution on March 18, 2011, which said, "After detailed considerations 37,388 sq metres land (4,02,294.88 sq feet) of Rajpur-Hirpur of City Taluka of Ahmedabad Town Planning-2 Final Plot 178, 179, 180 and 181 is given at the rate of Rs 1 for one square feet... It is given at the annual lease rent of Rs 4.02 lakh for 35 years. It has also been decided to increase the rent by 10 per cent every three year."
The Cabinet clearance is based on a 2009 Gujarat government's Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL) memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2009 with S E Transstadia Private Ltd, Mumbai, "for setting up a massive multipurpose sports stadium and recreation complex on the land of the Abad Dairy in the Kankaria area of Ahmedabad", the documents said.
They added, "The Executive Committee of the Gandhinagar Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) had detailed discussions about the project and its concessions agreements in its meetings from on February 11, 2009, December 30, 2009 and April 27, 2010."
Alleging a huge corruption on the basis of the documents, Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil, an MLA from Kutch district, in a statement has said, the government land, as a rule, is given to the highest bidder after inviting bids from interested persons.
"However, in this case, government had MoU with the company on the conditions favouring the company and gave consent for land to the company measuring 4,02,294.88 sq feet in a highly developed and posh area", he added.
By handing over the land cheap, said Gohil, the Gujarat government has suffered from "a loss of Rs 21. 67 crore to exchequer per year which amounts to a staggering amount of more than Rs 750 Crore in 35 years." He added, "What is shocking is the fact that the company has been allowed to set up money spinning activities like hotels, restaurants and shopping centres."

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