Sunil Gavaskar’s trust fails to commence work on cricket academy in Mumbai, set to lose prime land

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Published: December 30, 2019 11:31:46 AM

The open land near Rangsharda Auditorium in Bandra Reclamation was leased for a 60-year period to the Sunil Gavaskar Cricket Foundation Trust more than three decades ago in June 1998.

Plot in Bandra allotted to Sunil Gavaskar Cricket Foundation Trust (Express Photo by Ganesh Sirsekar)

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is likely to take back the possession of a 2,000 square metre plot of land in Bandra that was allotted to Sunil Gavaskar Cricket Foundation Trust (SGCFT) to develop an indoor cricket training academy some 30 years ago.

MHADA vice-president and chief executive officer Milind Mhaiskar told The Indian Express that the Authority has approached the government for termination of the arrangement with Gavaskar’s foundation. “The allotment of the land was made over 31 years ago. But the construction work (for the academy) is yet to commence. We’ve sent a proposal to the state government for resumption of the land,” Mhaiskar said.

Mhaiskar also indicated that till such time that the Authority resumes the land from SGCFT, it cannot undertake to permit any other activity on the site.

The open land near Rangsharda Auditorium in Bandra Reclamation was leased for a 60-year period to the SGCFT more than three decades ago in June 1998. The terms and conditions of the allotment were revised in 1999, 2002, and 2007. However, the construction activity for the cricket academy is yet to commence.

According to terms of the agreement, the government had agreed to give the plot on a 60-year lease to the SGCFT. The trust was required to build and run on a no-profit, no-loss basis, various facilities including a health club, fitness centre, gymnasium, swimming pool, squash court and a residential complex for players, besides setting up an indoor cricket training academy.

The government later permitted the trust to commercially exploit a portion of the plot with a caveat that the profits earned would be shared with MHADA on a 50:50 basis. The trust was permitted to raise finances from external sources.

In 2011, after receiving several complaints of encroachment on the property, MHADA initiated action against Gavaskar’s trust and proposed resumption the lease of the land.

BJP MLA from Bandra West Assembly seat, Ashish Shelar has also written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray demanding that plot allotted to Gavaskar be taken back.

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