State to renew Wankhede Stadium lease for ₹1.5 crore per annum, MCA disputes amount | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

State to renew Wankhede Stadium lease for 1.5 crore per annum, MCA disputes amount

By, Mumbai
Feb 07, 2024 06:40 AM IST

The MCA, however, has contended that the government is overcharging it and not taking into consideration certain facts, for instance that the ground is a reserved one under the recreation ground (RG) and playing ground (PG) categories and, besides, has limited potential for development as it falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone II rules

The Maharashtra government has taken a decision to renew the lease of the iconic Wankhede Stadium, which expired in 2018, for a period of 30 years. Pegging the value of the 44,000-square-metre plot at approximately 1,304 crore, the government has asked the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to pay 1.52 crore per annum as also 8.58 crore as the rent from 2018 to 2023.

Built in 1974, Wankhede Stadium hosted the first cricket Test match in January 1975. (HT Archives)
Built in 1974, Wankhede Stadium hosted the first cricket Test match in January 1975. (HT Archives)

The MCA, however, has contended that the government is overcharging it and not taking into consideration certain facts, for instance that the ground is a reserved one under the recreation ground (RG) and playing ground (PG) categories and, besides, has limited potential for development as it falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone II rules.

Unlock exclusive access to the story of India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

Interestingly, the MCA, one of the richest cricket associations in the country, pays 9.33 crore as annual rent to MMRDA for a recreation centre at BKC, as stated by its 85th annual report for 2019-2021. Its net worth was 337.54 crore at the end of March 2019, according to the report issued on February 14, 2022.

Wankhede Stadium houses the headquarters of MCA, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and the Indian Premier League (IPL). The BCCI is the richest cricket body in the world.

When the stadium’s lease expired in February 2018, Ashish Shelar, the then president of MCA, wrote a letter to then CM Devendra Fadnavis in April, requesting an extension for 50 more years. On June 26, 2017, a directive was issued by the government to start the renewal process.

To calculate the rent, the Mumbai collectorate, which comes under the state revenue department which owns all government properties, invoked the gymkhana lease policy brought out in June 2017. Under this, gymkhanas with land measuring 20,000 square metres and above come under the ‘A’ category and have to pay 1 percent of the base price as rent. The base price is 10 percent of the total value of the plot as per the current ready reckoner rates or the Annual Statement of Rates.

The gymkhana lease policy specifies that the rent will increase by four percent every year, and the value of the plot will be re-evaluated after five years to determine the new rates. If the re-evaluated rent is less than the previous year’s rent, the higher amount will be considered as the lease rent from that year.

According to documents accessed by Hindustan Times under RTI, the Mumbai collectorate assessed the value of the property at 1,304 crore and asked the MCA to pay approximately 7.06 crore for five years. The amount comes to approximately 1.30 crore, 1.35 crore, 1.41 crore, 1.46 crore and 1.52 crore for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively. On August 22, 2023, the MCA paid the entire sum but disputed the fresh annual lease rent for 2023, which was equal to the 2022 lease rent of 1.52 crore.

For 2023, the collectorate assessed the value of the stadium plot at 714 crore, half of the value evaluated in 2017. Accordingly, the lease rent was evaluated at 71,45,094. The Mumbai collectorate followed the gymkhana lease renewal policy condition, which states: In case, the re-evaluated lease rent is less than the previous year’s lease rent, the higher amount will be considered the lease rent for that year.

On September 20, 2023, MCA secretary Ajinkya Naik wrote to the Mumbai collector and requested him to reconsider his decision. “In our meeting, we explained that the plot has reservations of RG, PG and is affected by CRZ II and hence has limited potential for development ie the maximum capped floor space index (FSI) is 0.50… The IGR department (Inspector-General of Registration) has also revised the ready reckoner rate from April 1, 2022, and the fresh rates need to be accepted (for evaluating lease rent),” the letter reads.

The matter is now pending with the state revenue department. Rajgopal Devera, additional chief secretary, revenue, did not reply to a call and text message. When contacted, Naik said, “He is in a meeting and will get back soon.”

On February 6, 1968, the state government leased a plot measuring 43,977.93 square metres to MCA for the Lloyds Recreation Ground for a period of 50 years. On September 5, 1973, MCA was allowed to construct a permanent structure to be used as a stadium. It was also permitted to construct a clubhouse among other facilities over the years. Built in 1974, Wankhede Stadium hosted the first cricket Test match in January 1975. It has hosted four cricket World Cups played in 1987, 1996, 2011 and 2023.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, April 12, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On