n180 acres of land worth crores of rupees handed over to a private firm
The proposed golf course spread over 180 acres of land at Harsul Lake near the city has remained on paper after two decades. Moreover, the land worth crores of rupees, meant for the golf course that was handed over to Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) by the State Government 20 years back has now been transferred to a private firm by MTDC, which has raised eyebrows.
Tourists visit in large numbers to Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad and Japanese nationals form a major chunk of them. Keeping in view the fondness of Japanese for the game of golf, it was planned by MTDC to develop a golf course near the city to engage the oriental visitors in the state. The cost of the game is less in India in comparison to that in Japan. The move was aimed at promoting 'golf tourism' in the state.
Land transferred at throw-away price
The State Government had transferred 72 hectors (180 acres) of land at Harsul survey number 235, 236 and 237 in 1993 to MTDC on lease of token Rs 1 per year. The price of the land situated on the foothills of a hillock along the road from Harsul Lake to Jatwada has now sky-rocketed to tune of Rs 250 to 350 crore. In last 20 years MTDC had not even bothered to put up a fence around the land. Surprisingly, MTDC discovered that it possesses the land just 6 years ago when it was taking the stock of land possessed by it in the district.
Land mafia eyeing the land
Land mafias in the district are eyeing the land for long. There are many illegal encroachments on it including a place of worship. A difficult law and order situation was created 2 years back while removing the encroachments under police protection. At present, there still remain encroachments of some households and brick kilns and murum stone is being illegally mined.
Possession by a private firm
It was decided on higher level to develop the golf course with public private partnership (PPP) and tenders were also invited. The tender was allotted to Inspira Leisure Hospitality, a private firm and the company had even got the possession of the place. The company has started a small office on the place and employed security guards.
Officials of MTDC in Aurangabad don't even know that how many companies expressed interest in developing the golf course, how many of them participated in tendering process and at what rate the tender was allotted to Inspira. They said that they were only maintaining the land and rest of the decisions were taken in Mumbai.