Take back remaining 5.5 acres from Ghai’s film institute in 7 months, House panel tells govt

In another setback for filmmaker Subhash Ghai, an estimates' committee of the state legislature has asked the state government to take back 5.5acres in possession of Whistling Woods, Ghai's film institute in Film City at Goregaon, within seven months.

The Supreme Court had earlier upheld a Bombay High Court decision to scrap the allotment of 20 acres to Whistling Woods made by former chief minister (Late) Vilasrao Deshmukh's government in 2000.

While the state government took possession of the 14.5-acre open portion of the plot following the SC verdict in April last year, the remaining 5.5 acres are yet to be taken back.

Slamming the government for delay in this regard, an estimates' committee report, which was laid before the state legislature on Thursday, asked the government to take back the land on or before July 31, 2014.

The committee has also objected to the "lack of fire-fighting apparatus inside Film City."

The report says, "There is no fire station on the premises. Despite the committee's repeated insistence, the government has not provided funds to beef up fire fighting arrangements."

The committee has asked the government and the Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation (MFSCDC) to make necessary provisions within three months.

Pointing out that there was an urgent need for a master plan for holistic development of the Film City plot, spread over 521 acres, the committee also directed MFSCDC to float global tenders in this regard.

The MFSCDC had floated a tender but the committee has recommended its scrapping to allow global players to participate in

the bidding.

Signalling to the government regarding the need to hike rates for film and serial shoots inside Film City, the committee has also suggested entering into five and ten-year agreements with film producers and directors. It has also asked the government to remove slum encroachments on the premises.

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