MUMBAI: Who owns Mumbai, a city where land is scarce and where every square foot of space fetches a huge premium?
A preliminary survey carried out by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) last month stumbled upon interesting figures-just nine private land owners and private trusts control around 6,600 acres in Greater Mumbai, whose limits stretch from Colaba to Dahisar in the western suburbs and up to Mulund in the eastern suburbs. The city itself covers an area of approximately 1.07 lakh acres, of which the habitable area is roughly 34,000 acres. So the nine entities own 19.4%-or almost a fifth-of Mumbai's total habitable area.
The SRA, which collated land-holding data from three tehsils in the city-Borivli, Kurla and Andheri-found that roughly 3,000 of these 6,600 acres have been completely encroached upon and occupied by slum dwellers.
The SRA survey was done after the state government warned Mumbai's five biggest land owners that it would acquire their encroached land if they failed to redevelop it under the slum rehab scheme. Under this scheme, plot owners/developers must relocate slum dwellers free of cost on a portion of the land.
In return, the owner receives additional construction rights to utilize the remaining land portion to build luxury housing to be sold in the open market.
The records show Mumbai's biggest land owners are Godrej & Boyce, the ByramjeeJeejeebhoy Group, A H Wadia Trust, F E Dinshaw Trust, Sir Mohammed YusufKhot Trust, HirjibhaiDinshawBillimoria, JeejeebhoyArdeshir, and the families of V K Lal and PratapsinghSurjiVallabhdasKhot. Their lands are spread across Kurla, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Deonar, Malad and Goregaon.