After coming under the scanner for leasing out five acres of its land for film-shooting, Mumbai University (MU) is now facing the flak for a huge loss of revenue in the process. RTI query by an activist reveals that the university did not take the stipulated parking charges for the vanity van and generator van used during shooting.
A few days ago, MU was under the scanner for leasing out five acres of its land in Kalina to a private company for shooting of a web series without taking any government permission or legal advice for it. The arrangement was for eight months for a cumulative rent of Rs 75 lakh. The university had then clarified that the approval to rent out the land was based on terms and conditions suggested by the committee formed on the recommendations of Management Council (MC).
But now new revelations under RTI show that the university did not comply with the committee’s suggestions, leading to a loss of Rs 12 lakh. “The documents acquired through RTI show that the three-member committee had fixed parking charges of Rs 5,000 a day. But within days of the production house questioning the charges, they were removed on order by Vice-Chancellor Dr Suhas Pednekar,” said Anil Galgali who has sought an inquiry into the matter. Galgali also shared that the rent charges decided by the committee too were further reduced. “While the committee had suggested that the rent should be Rs 3 lakh for the first month and Rs 4 lakh from second month onwards, it was reduced to Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2 lakh respectively. This led to total loss of Rs 80 lakh to the university,” said Galgali.
Meanwhile, MU issued a statement on Monday evening maintaining that the deal is as per the committee’s recommendations. “After the finalisation of charges by the committee, the production house requested to review the amounts decided. Following this, the committee revisited the deal and new charges were finalised. It would not be correct to say that the decisions were taken based on the V-C’s orders alone,” read the statement.