Employees protest CIDCO move to give land to Videocon

Mumbai, Aug 6 (IANS) Employees of the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) Friday demonstrated in front of the corporation’s Mumbai and Navi Mumbai offices, protesting its decision to allot a huge chunk of land to Videocon Group at throwaway prices.

The employees, numbering around 100, trooped in small groups to the CIDCO head office at Nariman Point in south Mumbai, while another group of around 1,000 raised slogans outside the CIDCO Bhavan in Navi Mumbai, according to Milind Bagul, general secretary, CIDCO Employees Union.

In 2004, CIDCO had decided to allot around 100 hectares to Videocon Group for its SEZ project in Navi Mumbai at around Rs.3,000 per square metre. However, CIDCO has not signed any agreement with Videocon Group so far and the state government has proposed to grant another three months for signing the agreement.

‘Moreover, the CIDCO plans to charge from Videocon Group the same rate which was applicable in 2004, though the market value of the property has shot up to more than Rs.40,000 per square metre, or over Rs.3000 crore,’ Bagul told IANS.

The union is now demanding that CIDCO must charge the current market rates of the property from Videocon Group, just as it has done with some of the employees housing co-operatives.

Following the protests, CIDCO Chairman Nakul Patil said he would convey the employees’ sentiment to the state government, said Bagul.

The Videocon Group’s proposal envisages forming a special purpose vehicle with the company taking 34 percent stake, CIDCO 26 percent and the rest 40 percent would be offered to the public.

Realty prices in and around Navi Mumbai have seen a sharp upswing in view of the new international airport that is planned to be constructed there.

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