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135-acre Mum plot fetches 601 crore

Rajshri Mehta, Mumbai, The Times of India (Delhi edition)

January 22, 2011


In what real estate experts believe could be a sign that land rates are becoming more realistic, a 135-acre plot that belonged to the defunct PAL-Peugeot auto company in Dombivli has been auctioned off to Metropolitan InfraHousing Pvt Ltd (a subsidiary of Gammon India), which offered the highest bid of Rs 601 crore. Bombay High Court Justice R Y Ganoo on Friday confirmed Gammons bid following an auction in December 2010. It is the latest development in a nearly 12-year saga to sell a total of 180 acres located 5 km from Dombivli station.

Gammons bid was merely a crore higher than its nearest competitor, Neptune Group. Oberoi Realty, the third bidder in the fray, offered Rs 300 crore. Aside from land rates dropping to more realistic levels, experts said the deal is also an important one considering the liquidity crunch in the market.

The court's order is also significant for 1,712 displaced Pal-Peugeot workers, who will finally get dues that have been pending since the company shut down in September 2005. “The order will especially benefit about 40 workers who were on the verge of losing their homes as they had defaulted on loans taken from HDFC Bank in 1995. The bank, thankfully, accepted our plea to delay sealing the flats, as we explained that the courts order on the auction was due anytime. I pray now that we receive our dues before March 31 so we can repay the loans, said Umesh Upadhyay, secretary of the Sakharam Seth Employees Union, the registered trade union of PAL-Peugeot.