South Mumbai landlords giving plots for metro phase-3 make a killing


Owners of properties being acquired to make way for the Metro 3 corridor seem to have hit jackpot. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) is offering them eye-popping amounts under the state’s compensation policy that requires payments to be made at the rate of two-and-a-half times the market value.


Owners of the famous Crown Bakery at Mahim are one of the beneficiaries. The Khosravi family, which had been trying to sell the property for years, was handed over a Rs 29 cr cheque by MMRC to vacate.


The bakery occupied about 534 sq m (5,748 sq ft) and MMRC wanted it for a station next to the landmark Paradise cinema. Similarly, two office buildings at Marol Naka were acquired after Rs 30 cr was paid to the owners. 


An MMRC official said such land owners prefer to deal with them because all payments are made instantly once the procedure is over. “On the other hand, a builder may make tall promises to landlords, make a token payment and then delay the redevelopment project,’’ he said. At Jagannath Sunkersett Marg, Girgaum, landlords of several old tenanted chawls marked to be acquired by MMRC are awaiting a similar bonanza.


A five-member government-appointed compensation committee headed by retired bureaucrat Sudhir Thakare decides on the compensation to be paid to landowners, whose properties are acquired for the Metro 3 project, an MMRC official said.


Local sources said some fixers are promising landlords they can help inflate the market value of their properties so that they receive a higher compensation. Surya Mahal in Girgaum, for instance, is part of a 3,193 sq m plot, which MMRC is negotiating with the landlord. The price offered is Rs 86 cr, although the owner claims the property’s value is Rs 137 cr. BR Bhattad, who has a share in the property, said MMRC has identified about 520 sq m to carry out work under Surya Mahal.


“They require just 160 sq m for entry/exit points. So why is the entire 3,193 sq m being acquired? We strongly object to the acquisition of the entire property instead of 160 sq m,’’ said Bhattad who has written to the MMRC’s land acquisition department, but not received a reply so far.


Another property to be acquired in Girgaum is Kranti Nagar comprising old, dilapidated chawls. The property’s redevelopment has led to a dispute between builder R C Chaturvedi and the landlord Prashant Dani. Chaturvedi claimed he signed a deal with the landlord to buy the property for Rs 3 crore six years ago.


“However, some months ago, the owner backed out when he realized that MMRC would give a much bigger compensation,’’ said Chaturvedi, claiming that MMRC could pay as much as Rs 50 cr for this property.


“We were appointed developers in 2013 after a development agreement was signed and more than 80% tenants signed their irrevocable consent,” said Chaturvedi. However, a person speaking on behalf of the landlord said the builder had delayed paying the full amount for five years. “Finally, we had to ask MMRC to acquire the property,” he said adding that negotiations with MMRC had yet to begun. “The valuation of the property is still to be done,” he said.


The state government has set aside Rs 500 cr for MMRC for acquisition of about 30 private properties spread over 10,500 sq m (2.5 acres) for the project in Girgaum, Mahim, Dharavi and Marol. It has so far disbursed Rs 160 cr. Part of the lands of impacted buildings in Kalbadevi-Girgaum would be utilized for construction of stations, ancillary works, ventilation shafts, entry/exit structures and other related activities.

Written by The Realty Paper

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