The Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh government is creating record after record of scams. And this time, it’s not the public or media but Ministers of the cabinet itself that are exposing the scams that are robbing a debt ridden state of over Rs. 6000 Crore revenue. The state says it will be a pride project while those opposing it say it’s will not. So is the CIDCO Videocon deal – pride or shame? CIDCO VIDEOCON DEAL – PRIDE OR SHAME? So what’s the deal? Well, it is Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s decision to give 250 acres of prime land in Ulwe, Jui Kamothe and Karanjade in Navi Mumbai to Videocon for Rs. 40 Crores. According to the Chief Minister the reason for giving plot that has the potential to earn revenue of Rs. 6000 Crore should be given for 30 Crores because Videocon will set up a SEZ of TFT-LCD or electronic goods semiconductor project. The CM compelled the state cabinet to give a nod to the proposal when in its own report says that “in the electronics sector, technology becomes obsolete rather quickly. And in an event of it becoming unviable, Videocon might request change of use for real estate development. And the scam would not have been exposed had it not been for the differences between CM Vilasrao Deshmukh and State Revenue Minister Narayan Rane who has submitted his resignation after the proposal was approved by the cabinet. Over the years, CIDCO has become a private firm owned by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh that has plots only for capitalists. The state does not have plots for making affordable housing or plots for persons with disabilities either. When it comes to PAPs or persons with disabilities, CIDCO always speaks rules. Highly placed sources in Mantralaya inform that even State Environment Minister Ganesh Naik pointed out that the prime plots in question have mangroves and need the Airport Authority’s clearance as one falls right ahead of the landing zone but the Chief Minister was in no mood to hear anyone’s objections. His only point of focus seemed to be giving away prime land at throwaway price – by hook or crook or so it seems. And its not just this fear, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, in his zeal to sanction the proposal overlooked several fears of his own State Finance Dept. For instance, the State Finance Dept. expressed concern that : * The proposed land falls is full of mangroves. * Land was allotted to Videocon though the CIDCO policy is to auction plots to maximize revenue. * How much could have been earned if it was auctioned? * In case the venture fails, CIDCO’s shares of Rs. 260 Crores will then become worthless. * As per the information available with the finance department, the average is over of Rs 40,000 per sq mtr. * If the land is sold to Videocon, it will be a precedent for others to approach for lands in the name of superior technology. * But CM Vilasrao Deshmukh could not care less about the massive loss this will cause to the state treasury. For him farmers suicides, corruption, increasing percentage of people below poverty line, children dying due to malnutrition, inflation, homeless people living on roads and the over Rs. 125 lakh loan on the state – all have become routine as the state continues to work for capitalists and their benefits.
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November 13, 2014