In Maharashtra, the land acquisition department is tasked with selling commercial land to developers, which is the largest sector of the state’s economy.
But with more than 30,000 industrial parks and other commercial properties, the state government is facing an enormous task in the development of industrial parks.
In Maharashtra, it is not clear when the government decides which properties can be included as commercial land, a practice that is also seen in Delhi and Gujarat.
In Delhi, the government has made it clear that it will allow land to be sold for commercial purposes in any industrial park, irrespective of whether it has been designated for industrial development or residential development.
But in Mumbai, the decision on commercial land acquisitions is made on a sliding scale.
Some projects, like the Rs 10,000 crore project in Aligarh, have been given to the State Urban Development Corporation (SUDC), which is run by the local government, while others, like Mahanpur, have to go to the Ministry of Industrial Development and Labour (MID).
The process is different in other states.
For instance, in Gujarat, the State Planning Commission decides which industrial parks to acquire, while the Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority has to give permission.
For commercial properties in other parts of the country, the decisions are made by the state, but in Maharashtra, decisions are taken by the ministry.
“If there is a strong consensus among all stakeholders that there is no commercial use for the land, then we will let the developers go ahead,” said a senior official at the Ministry, who asked not to be identified.
“If the land has a commercial potential, then there will be a process of selecting commercial developers.”
However, there is still confusion about whether commercial land in Maharashtra is the same as industrial land, as per the Indian Standard for Land (ISL), which states that land can only be sold to industrial developers for residential purposes.
“This is a complex issue.
The ministry of industrial development and labour is looking into it,” said the official.
Mumbai is a city that has a large industrial park in the city’s south-west.
It is known as ‘Pulabha Industrial Park’, named after the old mill where it is located.
Its total area is more than 7,000 acres.
In the past, it has also been known as the ‘Pilav’ industrial park.
However, in the last two years, the city has faced a series of protests and complaints from residents and locals, who have alleged that industrial parks are being sold to developers at astronomical prices.
The PIL, filed by residents of Pulabha, alleged that in 2014-15, an industrial park that was to be built on the site was given a ‘high priority’ and was allotted to a developer named ‘Mukesh’ who was later disqualified.
The city also claimed that this was in violation of the ISL and the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai Act, 1961.
According to residents, the project was approved in 2012 and the development was delayed for two years because of protests.
However, this has not stopped Mukesh and his partner, Suresh, from acquiring commercial land and developing their industrial park for residential development on the land they bought in 2014.
According the PIL application filed by Pulabhas residents, in December 2017, the PIMC had cleared the PULABHAR (Piladar Industrial Park) project for a residential development, but this was not followed up and the project did not go ahead.
The development of Pulibha Industrial park is currently being conducted by Mukesh’s company, MOML.
According for the PEL application, the proposed development will include a hotel, a commercial office building, a hotel-cum-residential development, a manufacturing factory, a factory for the production of LED lighting, and a retail space.
The proposed development, however, has not been approved yet by the PCLC and is still pending with the PMLC.MOML has also acquired industrial land at a site at Ghatkopar, in Ahmedabad, and at a location at Karanja in Kochi, also in Gujarat.
However in the application filed in PEL, it had mentioned the industrial park as part of the ‘Commercial Land’ and not ‘Industrial Land’.
The PEL also stated that the development is expected to create 5,000 jobs, but no details have been provided.
Meanwhile, the MOMH’s official spokesperson, Abhishek Kumar, told The Hindu that, while it is in the process of considering all the relevant applications, “we have not been given the specific list of commercial properties to be acquired.”
“We have not received any list of specific industrial properties for the sale, so we will have to wait for the notification,” Kumar said.