MUMBAI- The Maharashtra government has granted approval for the acquisition of the renowned Air India (AI) building at Nariman Point in South Mumbai for Rs 1,601 crore.
The 23-story building is under the ownership of Air India Assets Holding Ltd, a company established by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2018 to oversee all Air India properties.
Air India Building Sold
According to reports, relocating all ministerial offices to the building is possible. At the same time, some may continue to operate from the Mantralaya, the administrative headquarters of the state government.
Following a fire at the state secretariat in 2012, four departments had to be relocated to GT Hospital. Public health, medical education, water supply and sanitation, and rural development departments might now consider moving to Nariman Point.
Constructed in 1974 on land owned by the state government, the building was designed by John Burgee of the New York-based architectural firm Johnson/Burgee.
The structure was one of the targets during the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, where a car bomb detonated in the building’s basement garage, resulting in the loss of 20 lives and the destruction of the offices of the Bank of Oman situated above.
Presently, nine building floors are unoccupied, with GST offices on three floors and the income-tax department operating from eight floors. The ground and first floors are under the ownership of Air India. There are considerations for utilizing these spaces for state government offices in the future.
Interest by JNPT and LIC
According to a PTI report, the state government has conveyed to the Air India Assets Holding Company the directive to transfer the building without any encumbrances.
Initially put up for sale in 2018 as part of Air India’s asset monetization plans, the building received a subdued response.
In 2019, both the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority and LIC expressed interest in acquiring the property. Still, the state’s offer reportedly surpassed those of the other two entities at Rs 1,400 crore, where their bids ranged from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,375 crore.
The state government, led by Eknath Shinde, increased the bid to Rs 1,600 crore.
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