The improvement committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is considering taking back a prime plot in Bandra that was leased to National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) as part of an initiative to promote the arts and cinema in particular. BMC had handed over the plot to NFDC in 2015. On Wednesday, the civic body tabled a proposal to take the plot back, citing failure on part of NFDC to set up the proposed film cultural centre and a children’s theatre at the site.

In 2014, BMC’s improvement committee and general body cleared a proposal to hand over a prime plot in Bandra to NFDC for 30 years, with Rs 1 as annual rent. The plot, which already has a theatre, is on Sherly Rajan Road, and measures about 712 square meters. NFDC and BMC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that NFDC would develop the plot as part of a project to promote arts and culture. 

On Wednesday, a proposal to cancel the MoU with NFDC and take back the theatre was tabled before the improvement committee. The committee will visit the theatre before taking a decision. A senior civic official said, “Several show-cause notices were served to them [NFDC] as they failed to set up the centre and there were several delays. We are now proceeding to cancel the lease.”

BMC listed six breaches of lease conditions, including failure on NFDC’s part to start the proposed film and cultural centre, and renovating the existing children’s theatre. Other breaches include loss of revenue due to non-functional centre and not including a representative of BMC in the advisory committee formed by NFDC for the film and cultural centre.

An official from NFDC, requesting anonymity, said, “There were many hurdles including delays in registration and financial troubles that led to the overall delay of this project. We have explained this to the civic body and are expecting an extension.”

Corporators have demanded the civic administration submit a list of other plots handed over for promotion of art and culture where no progress has taken place. Congress corporator Ashraf Azmi said, “There could be many such plots which have not been developed by the caretakers to whom they were handed over. I am writing to the municipal commissioner to submit details of all such plots.”

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