Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra CM
Mumbai: In a boost to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ plans to create multiple financial, entertainment and residential hubs in Mumbai, 40 acres of prime land is expected to be freed up in the Parel-Lalbaug area, as three sick textile mills are set to be relocated to Amravati.
The three mills that will be moved are Tata Mills (28.27 acres) and Podar Mills (6.19 acres) at Lower Parel, and India United Mills No. 5 at Kalachowkie (5.56 acres).
These mills, controlled by the National Textile Corporation (NTC), were modernised at the cost of Rs130 crore in 2010, but are running at minimal capacity with skeletal staff strength. However, the government is yet to decide on the fate of the 2,500 workers employed at the mills.
Fadnavis’ announcement, which was made on Saturday, is expected to trigger a new round of sales for the huge parcels of land in central Mumbai. The Parel-Lalbaug belt is adjoining the Lower Parel-Elphinstone area, which has already witnessed the transformation from mill land to commercial and residential towers.
The NTC used to own 25 textile mills in Mumbai, of which seven have already been sold, raking in Rs3,999 crore, which is being used to revive the remaining mills as well as venture into another activities. The corporation has also raised around Rs6,154 crore by selling surplus land across the country.
According to a senior NTC official, the land that houses the three mills is currently underutilised. “The next course of action will be to auction these plots and utilise the money to fund the textile sector outside the city,” said the official.
Urban planners, however, have cautioned against mindless construction, saying opening up land parcels will provide an excellent opportunity to provide amenities to the people. “The need of the hour is more open spaces along with basic amenities such as schools, colleges and hospitals. We need to create them in these mill lands, or else, the situation will deteriorate further,” said Pankaj Joshi, executive director, Urban Design Research Institute.
Even the textile unions have opposed the move, calling the move in favour of the builders lobby. “If the government is sincere in reviving the textile sector and creating employment opportunities, they can do it in Mumbai itself. But the entire focus is on exploiting the land,” said Datta Ishwalkar, secretary, Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samitee.