MUMBAI: The state government has sought legal opinion on whether it should file a review petition against the recent Supreme Court order removing the “private forest” tag attached to huge swathes of land across the state.
In Mumbai, the ruling has brought relief to at least five lakh residents and builders linked to hundreds of acres in Thane, Mulund, Bhandup, Nahur, Mahul, Borivli, Kandivli, Virar, Badlapur and Ambernath. The biggest gainer is Godrej, which can now build on 133 acres in Vikhroli. Across the state the government had issued notices to owners of 6.4 lakh acres.
Sources said the state revenue department wants land that is vacant to be identified as private forest and it wants to develop a forest on this land. Hence the state is exploring the option of filing a review petition, said sources.
Meanwhile, the Hillside Residents Welfare Association has written to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan requesting him that directives be issued to the revenue department in the next fortnight to delete the reference to forests in the land records.
“Issuance of a circular or direction will ensure that residents are not put to further hardship of having to individually take up the matter with the concerned departments for alteration of the revenue and other records, which would be time-consuming and a costly affair for the residents,” it said. Once the deletion is completed, residents plan to ask the government to return the money they have paid as penalty for regularizing their homes. They paid around Rs 6 per sq feet as net present value based on recommendations of the panel set up by the SC prior to the order.