Rajeev Shukla land row: Prithviraj Chavan to take land back, change policy

ChavanChief Minister Prithviraj Chavan asserted that individuals allotted land earlier had not done anything wrong. (PTI)

Amid controversy over land given to a trust promoted by Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Sunday said his government would scrap the 1984 policy under which land could be  given cheap to private players. He also said that the land allotted to Shukla would be reclaimed.

"I have decided to do away with the old land allocation policy, which allowed handing over of land to private players for construction of educational institutions at cheap rates. Henceforth, land will be allotted on current ready reckoner rates," Chavan told The Indian Express.

While conceding that the policy needed to be rectified, the CM, however, asserted that individuals allotted land earlier had not done anything wrong. "The 1984 government resolution entails the government to hand over plots to individuals at prices way below actual rates. In that sense, individuals who were awarded land have not done anything illegal," he said. Talking about the policy, he said it "cannot be justified and requires major corrections".

The BAG Films Education Society promoted by Shukla was allotted a 2,821-sqm plot in Andheri for Rs 98,735 in 2007-08. Another plot measuring 3,534 sqm, reserved for a playground, was given to the society on a 15-year lease for just Rs 6,309. 

"The government is certainly going to reclaim the land that was allocated to Shukla. He has already offered to hand over the land to the government. The objectionable aspect relates to the trust's decision to convert the plot reserved for a playground. That cannot be justified," Chavan said.

Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat has been working on a land policy for the past two years. A draft proposal putting a ceiling on land allocation to private players for education or hospitals was also decided in principle. 

However, while the decision to strictly enforce the same, at least in Mumbai, was discussed in the Cabinet, several ministers raised objections and a consensus could not be evolved.

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