Did the ministers stop the takeover of land worth Rs. 5,500 Crores by the suburban collector?
Information obtained using the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that the takeover of 18.5 acres of Aarey Milk Colony land in Goregaon by the suburban collector from Royal Palms developers was stayed by the revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat and dairy development minister Madhukar Chavan. Both the ministers used their quasi-judicial powers in December 2013 to prevent the takeover of the land whose approximate worth is estimated to be Rs. 5,500 Crore.
V L Gavai, Collector had given the plot to Royal Palms in November 1999, and as the Royal Palms started constructing a boundary wall, the then dairy development commissioner appealed to R B Kulkarni, Additional Divisional Commissioner, who granted a stay on May 9, 2000. Subsequently, Kulkarni cancelled Gavai's order on September 4, 2000. In July 2003, the then revenue minister Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar upheld the decision of the ADM and the Bombay High Court too set aside Gavai's order in 2006. Royal Palms had lost all claims for the land at various levels till 2006 and the suburban collector was to going to take over the land on December 19, 2013 in order to hand it over to the dairy development department.
Strangely, the land demarcations were not done after that for many years and the former Chief Secretary Jayant Banthia ordered in 2013 that the dairy development department must fence its properties to tackle encroachment. The city land survey officer (Vile Parle) reported that the Aarey Colony had lost 18.5 acres and the attempt to construct boundary wall was objected to by the Royal Palms. The Royal Palms applied in written on December 6, 2013 and on their representation, Chavan issued a stay on its transfer and asked dairy development commissioner Y E Kerure to stop proceedings. Just a day before then suburban district collector Sanjay Deshmukh was to take possession of the land. Thorat issued a stay on December 18, 2013. The dairy development commissioner Kerure is now taking up the matter with the secretary, dairy development in Mantralaya to get the stays vacated.