Smita Thackeray-led Mukti Foundation, which was leased a 18,512-sq ft plot in 1999 in the prime Four Bungalows locality in Andheri at hugely concessional rates for a community centre, is yet to complete its construction work. Pending this, the trust has rented out a portion of the plot to a popular restaurant chain.
Originally meant to be auctioned as a shopping complex, the plot was leased to the trust on September 22, 1999, for 30 years at Rs 11,296 per year. The trust was to make use of the plot for the said purpose within three years.
When contacted, Allwyn Rodrigues, administration head of Mukti Foundation, said the auditorium work will take another “four to five months” to complete.
A government official said, “Mukti is yet to pay licence fee for allowing commercial exploitation.” While the state’s Revenue department gave permission for commercial exploitation of 15 per cent of built-up area on November 18, 2006, Mukti was yet to pay a licence fee of Rs 6.27 lakh per annum. Official documents accessed by Newsline reveal that the Collector’s office has raised the demand. But Rodrigues said they were yet to receive a communication in this regard. “The restaurant facility has begun barely a month-and-a-half ago,” he said.
Mukti has built a nine-storey structure on the land. Besides the proposed 450-seater auditorium on the facility’s second floor, approved building plans reveal that a clinic and office spaces are proposed to come up on the remaining floors. “The interior work on the floors is all that remains,” Rodrigues said.
Mukti has also allegedly encroached on an additional 5,488 sq ft portion of plot abutting the land allotted to it.
Refuting these allegations, Rodrigues said the trust had first approached the government about differences in the actual plot area allotted to it and the allotment order. On February 6, 2009, Thackeray wrote to the suburban collector asking him “to rectify this and issue a property card in the Foundation’s name”. While the government has shown willingness to regularise this additional area, the issue is pending due to differences regarding the rent and arrears.
With the terms of allotment stipulating a rent revision after 10 years, the collector’s office has claimed that Mukti was liable to pay revised rents since 2009. Including the valuation for the additional area, it has now raised a rent bill of Rs 1.15 crore.
However, Mukti has opposed this and has sought