RTI exposes a revenue loss of Rs 25,000 crore in Maharashtra


SHAILESH GANDHI | 22/05/2013

Would you believe that Maharashtra loses over Rs25,000 crore annually because of carelessness or corruption, and this has not been exposed so far?

Are we really poor or are we thrust into poverty? The recent scams, which have been unearthed, give me a feeling that we may actually be quite well off with enough resources. If the lakhs of crores of public resources being given away and snatched away by the few were to come to the public exchequer, we could be quite comfortable as a nation. I have been pursuing one such scam in Maharashtra in which I believe a few thousand crores of public money is being lost to benefit a few.

 

Maharashtra’ debt is about Rs2.7 lakh crore, and we pay the interest for this. A state owns many resources on behalf of its citizens. One of these is land. Governments sell some of the lands and give some on lease. The idea behind giving certain lands on lease is to basically have an inflation-proof investment and sometimes, to encourage certain activities. Hence it offers lands on lease. It wishes to retain the land so that it may basically ensure that its revenue matches with the growth in inflation.

 

A lease is legal transaction, which primarily lays down the area that is leased, purpose for which the land is to be used, period of lease, lease rent and certain other conditions. When the lease expires, it may be renewed with the lessor increasing the lease rent as per themarket price, which reflect the inflation in the intervening period.

 

When any individual or institution gives land or a property on lease and the lease expires, a fresh lease is drawn up at the prevailing market rates if the lessee wants to continue. This simple principle has not been followed in Mumbai and possibly in the state ofMaharashtra. I have been told that this is true all over the country. Some leases are renewed while some are allowed to continue occupying the land at the old rates. What are the reasons for such irrational actions?

 

This may be due to carelessness or corruption.

 

I had discovered this in 2005 and drawn the attention of the chief secretary to this in a letter titled “Arbitrariness and huge loss of public money in public lands given on lease”. I have now got the scanned copy of the file relating to this which has over 600 pages over the years and has ended on a bizarre note.

 

The Supreme Court is the 2G case has said, “In conclusion, we hold that the state is the legal owner of the natural resources as a trustee of the people and although it is empowered to distribute the same, the process of distribution must be guided by the constitutional principles including the doctrine of equality and larger public good.” The poorest man who may be starving is an equal and rightful owner of this land, and it is necessary that the appropriate revenue is obtained for him. I looked at the list of leases of lands given by the two collectors of Mumbai (obtained in RTI) and decided to calculate the worth of the lands where lease deeds have expired and unauthorized occupiers are allowed to continue.

 

Let me first share the route the Maharashtra Government has decided to adopt after eightyears of confabulations: The government has decided to offer the lands to the lessees at about 20 to 30% of the value! I am shocked at this irrational action of the government and think it is about time, citizens defend their revenue by telling the government they will not accept this approach. Below are the detailed calculations…

BOX:

 

Note on some assumptions in calculations:

I used the Ready Reckoner rates, which are for FSI of 1 (one). I checked with some renowned architects and builders and was told that the land value for the island city is reckoned at a FSI of 3 to 5 and for the suburbs at a FSI of 2 to 4, I therefore assumed land value at FSI 3 for the city and 2 for the suburbs. In the case of the suburban collector, when I could not get the value of the land from the Reckoner I took two leases which had been given. In 2007, for an access road Rs1,062 per sq mtr had been charged; I therefore assumed a rate of Rs1,200 per sq mtr in 2013 for access roads, playgrounds, etc.
For other uses, I assumed a rate of Rs5,200 per sq mtr since a lease had been given in Malad for a CNG outlet in 2009 at Rs5,348 per sq mtr. In the case of Mumbai collector, since usage has not been provided, I have assumed that the total rent would be less by 15% to take into account the open grounds/ playgrounds, etc.
My feeling is that the total figure, which I have arrived at is most probably an underestimate. I have assumed that the market would be willing to bid at least 7% of the market value of the lands. In this case the fixed lease rent would be payable for a period of about 30 years. Future escalations would be to the lessee’s advantage.
On this issue I quote from the Supreme Court judgement in Matter No.C.A.No.5559/2001 JH Wadia v/s. Board of Trustees, Port of Mumbai, where it said, “The period between 1.4.1994 and 31.3.2000 is the bone of contention. The compromise proposals proposed 15% return for non-residential use and 12% return for residential use as the fair market rent on the estate value. The division bench of the High Court has directed these rates to be reduced to 6% and 4% respectively. Instead of our undertaking an exercise afresh as to what would be a fair and reasonable return to the Bombay Port Trust, it is sufficient to record that all the learned counsel for the parties excepting the Bombay Port Trust, have agreed that the lessees are prepared to accept the rates revised as 10% and 8% respectively.”
Based on this I feel a rate of 7% today is very conservative.

In the case of the information about leases provided by the Mumbai collector, in 103 cases there is no mention of the lease date and period of lease. Despite a specific query by me using RTI, the PIO has said they will need two to three months to provide this information!
 
There are also other government agencies like BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which have similar lands in Mumbai. My calculation (see box above) estimates that there is an annual loss of about Rs1,550 crore by Mumbai Collector and about Rs1,200 crore due to the suburban collector (see below), i.e. a total revenue loss of Rs2,750 crore every year.

 

 

The government now proposes to give away ownership rights to the lessees for Rs2,248 crore plus Rs1,841 crore onetime! Citizens must protest before the government dispossess us of our land and legitimate revenue.

 

If we can get the government to auction the leases in Mumbai and all over Maharashtrawe could have a revenue stream of over Rs25,000 crore each year. Citizens and media need to make the government get the appropriate revenue by fixing lease amounts at current rates. Also this is a revenue stream which is partial hedge against inflation, saving future generations from having to pay ever higher taxes.

 

(Shailesh Gandhi served as Central Information Commissioner under the RTI Act, 2005, during 18 September 2008 to 6 July 2012. He is a graduate in Civil Engineeringfrom IIT-Bombay. Before becoming a full time RTI activist in 2003, he sold his packaging business, Clear Plastics. In 2008, he was conferred the Nani Palkhivala Memorial Award for civil liberties.)

#India-Auto driver’s girl topsCA exams: 24-year-old proves money is no object for a good education #goodnews


By MAIL TODAY REPORTER PUBLISHED: 21:58 GMT, 22 January 2013 | Financial obstacles cannot stop you from fulfiling your dreams, as 24-year-old Prema Jayakumar, the daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver, proved when she secured the first rank in the All India Chartered Accountancy examination. Prema became a role model for lakhs of girls her age when she conquered all odds to achieve her goal. For Prema, education was not just another chore but a way to change her life for better. Her father, Jayakumar Perumal, is double thrilled with the CA results, declared on Monday, as his 22-year-old son Dhanraj has also cleared the exam with flying colours.

Prema Jayakumar (second right) and her brother Dhanraj with their parentsPrema Jayakumar (second right) and her brother Dhanraj with their parents

Prema’s feat has made her a mini-celebrity in her chawl in Mumbai. Her family resides in a small one-room tenement in suburban Malad. Jayakumar migrated from his village Periyakolliyur in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu in 1992. His wife, Lingam, worked in a private company earlier but has now become a homemaker. A graduate in commerce from Nagindas Kandwala College at Malad, Prema secured the second rank in Mumbai University and completed her M.Com while preparing for CA.

She said: “I have always been a topper and knew that hard work would make me excel in the CA exams but topping it has surprised me.” Prema secured an impressive 607 out of 800 marks in the challenging examination. Dhanraj, who worked for some time at a call centre while completing his degree course to fund his education, said: “My sister is my hero, the source of my inspiration.” Both Prema and Dhanraj, who went to a Tamil medium municipal school, overcame difficult circumstances to achieve success. Prema said her parents never pressurised her to excel academically. “We never faced any pressure from our parents to study. However, we knew that education is our only means to change the lives we have lived. Now that my brother and I have reached this stage, we would like to make the most of it and give our parents a good life,” she said. Prema said she was grateful to her parents for giving her a good education despite their poor financial status. “Though my father was an auto-rickshaw driver, he ensured that I was never deprived of education because of lack of money… Now I want my father, who has worked so hard so that can I realise my dreams, to take some rest,” she said. An elated Jayakumar nodded in approval. “Umra bhi ho gayi. Ab kuch aram karoonga, bahut achcha lag raha hai. (I have grown old. Now I will take some rest, it feels so good),” he said as he prepared to wind down after the day’s hard work on Mumbai’s noisy streets. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2266606/Auto-drivers-girl-tops-Accountancy-exams-24-year-old-proves-money-object-good-education.html#ixzz2IluviHEL

 

#Mumbai-Your face does not merit a rape FIR #Vaw #WTFnews


Your face does not merit a rape FIR , says lady cop to victim

The bizarre reason a lady cop gave the victim before refusing to lodge FIR against her former live-in partner

December 29, 2012
MUMBAI
Akela, Mid day

“Tumhara chehra rape ka FIR karne layak nahin hain.” A woman who turned to the cops to lodge an FIR against a man who had duped her into a live-in relationship was turned away by a female police officer on the pretext of this bizarre rationale.

Rekha

The cop went on to sanctimoniously tell her that if she had truly loved the man who wronged her, she wouldn’t lodge a complaint against him, but would marry another man and live happily ever after.

Santosh Sharma
Victim and accused: Rekha (Top) and Santosh Sharma. Pics/Nimesh Dave

Before receiving such pearls of wisdom from the female cop, the complainant had even been told by a senior inspector that there was “no point” in lodging a rape case.

Rekha, (name changed) a 28-year-old resident of Malad, had moved in with her boyfriend after he promised he would marry her.

After he dumped her unceremoniously and married another woman years later, she turned to the police. For four consecutive days, police officers refused to register an FIR, saying ‘saheb chhutti par hain.”

She then met Senior Inspector Subhash Dafle, who also refused to register an FIR and assured her that all would be fine in a few days.

“Dafle told me, ‘Rape ka FIR karne me koi fayda nahin hai. Char din me sab theek ho jayega. Rapist to Goregaon- Malad me chhipa nahin hai ki use pakad layein (There is no use filing an FIR for rape. Everything will be fine in four days. It’s not like the rapist is lurking in Goregaon or Malad that we can catch him),” said Rekha.

Faced with the blunt refusal of cops, Rekha approached the Borivli Magistrate Court on December 15 with the help of lawyer Ashok Yadav.

The court then passed an order asking that an FIR be registered against Santosh Sharma under Sections 376, 406, 420 and 498 (A) of the IPC for dowry, rape, cheating and breach of trust.

But even the court’s order couldn’t convince the cops to take action.

The honourable court passed an order asking the police to register an FIR on the same day, but Kurar police turned a deaf ear. They aren’t even obeying the court’s order,” said Yadav.

Armed with the court order, Rekha met officer Jyoti Bhopale with the court order. But instead of registering the FIR, Bhopale started giving her some unsolicited advice, replete with veiled insults.

“She told me, ‘Tumhara chehra rape ka FIR karne layak nahin hai. Agar tum usse sachcha pyar karti to uske khilaf complaint nahin karti. Jao kisi aur se shadi kar lo aur khush raho (Your face doesn’t merit a rape FIR. If you loved him truly, you would not lodge a complaint against him. Go marry someone else and stay happy,” said an outraged Rekha.

False promises
Rekha met Santosh Sharma (30) at a garment shop in 2006 and they soon became friends. They started living together. Sharma even introduced Rekha to his family as his ‘wife’. Sharma would give Rekha Rs 8,000 every month. Rekha would even give part of her salary to Sharma’s father. In 2009, Sharma went abroad for a job. He then started distancing himself from Rekha, and stopped communicating with her. When he was confronted, he refused to tie the knot with her, saying that he couldn’t do so as he was a heart patient.

“Sharma told me, ‘Main heart ka patient hun isliye shadi nahin kar sakta,’” said Rekha.

In March, Rekha went to Sharma’s native district in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. She was shocked when police officers and villagers told her that Sharma had married another woman.

Sharma’s father Guru Dayal Sharma told Rekha that since she couldn’t pay him Rs 2.5 lakh in cash and give four tolas of gold, he made his son marry another woman. “Santosh swore on his mother’s life that he didn’t know me,” said Rekha.

The other side
In spite of repeated attempts, Senior Inspector Dafle of Kurar police station could not be reached for comment. “I am not aware about the court order, but I will look in to the

Dear chief minister, is this rioting?


Javed Iqbal- DNA

Dear chief minister, is this rioting?

Jameel Akhtar Sheikh was defending his Ambujwadi home from demolition for two days, before he had gone to Sion Koliwada to help the original inhabitants of Mumbai, the Kolis, to defend one home that had been previously demolished on the same day he and thousand of his neighbours chased away bulldozers at his home back in Malad.

After the reprieve at his home, two days later, at Sion Koliwada, on May 31, he lay down before the bulldozer in an act of passive resistance, and would eventually be dragged away and arrested, charged for rioting amongst other charges.

Just two days ago, in a rally in Ambujwadi he would speak without a microphone to thousands of other residents, exhorting, ‘Where do you think Shah Rukh Khan stays? Who do you think made Anil Ambani’s home? We did!’

Today, he is among 25 individuals arrested by the Sion police at Sion Koliwada, along with 24 other women, including Madhuri Shivkar, the young leader of the resistance against Sahana Developers. She was the first woman to be dragged off by lady constables as she sat on dharna, without sleep, for over 19 hours. She has further charges slapped on her, and the police have demanded further custody for her, due to ‘serious complaints already filed against her’, but all her nieghbours know that this is only because she is the de facto leader of the opposition to the builder at Sion Koliwada.

Now, 24 women and one man were arrested and charged under IPC Sections 143, 147, 149, 152, 332, 333, 353, 504.

According to the police, the protestors had not only resorted to rioting and injuring a lady constable Kalawati Ravindra Sinha, 54, who would be admitted to Hinduja Hospital, but they also illegally rebuilt a home that the residents claim was illegally demolished.

The police also demanded police custody of the protestors till June 7 fearing they would return to protest, and return to ‘provoke’ the residents. Their only eyewitness is another police constable, while residents had video footage of the so-called riot, where every person who was arrested was picked up from the ground when they were lying down before the bulldozer.

At the police station, no one was allowed to meet the accused and even after all the protestors were sent to the Nagpada police station, no one was allowed to send them any food. Journalists were also not allowed to interview senior police officials.

The protestors remained in police custody all night and would complain before the Kurla magistrate court that their medical tests were not done properly. Allegations of abuse have been widely circulated in the Sion village, and just two days earlier a young Frank Fernandes sat in a police van with torn shirts, showing tell-tale signs of police violence.

A few of the police’s justifications for demanding police custody make an interesting indication of naked police aggression. In the first information report, they claim that if the protestors are released they would hurt the ‘peaceful environment’ in the area.

Read full article here

Public Awareness Yatra on revision of Mumbai Development Plan Jan 17-19


Dear all,
As most of you know, the development plan of Mumbai is being revised and a draft is being expected next year.  The development plan will decide the land use pattern of Mumbai and hence will decide on the density, spaces for urban housing, livelihood, open spaces, social infrastructure will be decided therin.

Many of the peoples settlements which have come up on land which is reserved in last D.P (1981 – 2011) for one purpose or the other.  It is important that the present D.P acknowledge the existence of peoples settlements and ensure appropriate land use.  This has also being acknowledged in Rajiv Awas Yojana and Model Property Rights Bill.

The Pubic Awarness Yatra will visit and discuss with public on Development Plan with a Peoples charter of demands which was facilitated by Shahar Vikas Manch in consultation with various communities and peoples groups.  The Yatra will also demand consultation with urban poor in the process of development plan revision.

We request you to join the yatra at the places below to make our city a little more habitable, equitable and just to all section of people with universal access to basic services.

January 17, 2012, Tuesday
11.00 am: Ambujawadi, Malwani Malad
2.00 pm: Azmi nagar
4.00 pm, Kacha road, Collector Compund, Malwani Gate No.8

January 18, 2012 Wednesday
10.30 : Rathodi Village, Malwani
2.00 : Kharodi Village, Malwani
4.00 : Valnai, Near Orlem Church

January 19, 2012 Thursday
11.00:  Pratap Nagar, Jogeshwari
2.00 pm:  Jula Maidan, Bandra Plot, Jogeshwari
4.00 pm: Sarvodaya Nagar, Jogeshwari

Mohan Chavan, Mahatam Maurya, Sumati Belady, Fatima Sheikh, Vandana Parke, Suryakant More, Sana Khan, Rakhi Shinde, Ganesh Sonawane, Kalpana, Indumati, Salim Sheikh, Jagdeesh Sharma, Wasim Sheikh, Jaya Jhadav, Uma Biradar, Ayub sheikh, Nitin Kubal, Milind Arondekar, Sanju Shamathulla, Kalpana Gaude, Sharada Arondekar, 

for more information contact- maju@yuvaindia.org