Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mumbai Mill Lands - who has how much

That's a lot of mill-land. Just got that above data from, which again picks it up from Malini Bhupta's article in last year's India Today (paid site).

While the article is fairly exhaustive, it also seems a bit tilted towards the builders, with lines like "The PIL was strangely silent on the workers' dues and unpaid loans." Well, the issue was on open spaces in Bombay right?. Moreover, the workers did get their say (refer the Oct'05 High Court judgment, page 285). And what they had to say was quite depressing.

At the end of the day, there are some facts which are crystal clear. The DCR58 was made with the sole purpose of rehabilitation of sick textile mills. Key word "sick". So, to facilitate rehabilitation, and pay off workers dues, the Government provided for the mill-owner to sell his land and share it equally with the BMC and MHADA. One fine day, the Government changed this rule to give more land to the owners and less to the BMC and MHADA. The BEAG questioned this decision and the High Court held in their favour, ruling that the land has to be shared equally as per the old Rule.

The Supreme Court is now re-looking the whole case. If it decides that the new Rule stays, then the mill-owners get more land. If it decides against, then the BMC and MHADA get proportionately more land. Be it the mill-owners, or the builders who have bought the property, or the BMC or MHADA , one thing is clear - more land means more buildings (low-cost or skyscrapers) means more people, more cars, more traffic, more crowd. And our already crumbling infrastructure can't handle this. It's too late to figure why all this happened. And it's probably too late to contain the damage.