Land for Hema: CM may review old law on cheap land allotments

Mumbai, Feb 5 (IANS) Following a controversy over allotment of a prime piece of land to BJP MP Hema Malini at a throwaway price, the Maharashtra government is likely to review and scrap an old law that allows land allotment at cheap rates, an activist said here on Friday.

Right to Information (RTI) activist Anil Galgali’s expose has prompted Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to look afresh at the 1983 law under which the state government allots cheap land for social, educational and cultural purposes at 25 percent of the price prevalent in 1976.

“The CM confirmed to me today that he has instructed the concerned officials to review the existing policy and draft a new policy for such land allotments, which is likely to happen very soon,” Galgali told IANS.

The government would also give a thought to whether the proposed change in the law could impact the price of the land allotted to veteran actor Hema Malini in Andheri West for her proposed dance academy, he added.

“This is a welcome move on the part of the CM and will put an end to all such land scams which keep occurring at regular intervals as very expensive government plots are given away at very cheap rates to various social, educational and cultural organisations,” Galgali pointed out.

He claimed that by pursuing the policy, the state exchequer suffered revenue losses of hundreds of crores of rupees in 35 years. The money could have been used for the state’s development.

The allotment of over 2,000 sq metres of land to Hema Malini’s Natyavihar Kala Kendra Charitable Trust faced rough weather after Galgali exposed the transaction documents through the RTI query last week. The actress, though, denied any wrongdoings in the process.

Alleging the state government’s favouritism to the BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Mathura, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam and Nationalist Congress Party leaders demanded that the allotment be scrapped and the 2000-sq.m. plot be taken back from Hema.

On Thursday, activist Ketan Tirodkar filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court against Hema Malini and Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse on the same issue.

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