Govt takes back 52.34 acres leased to Madras Race Club

Also, the club filed a case in the Madras High Court regarding the land. In the recent judgment by the HC, it permitted the state govt to expropriate the land from the club's possession.
Representational image of Madras Race Club
Representational image of Madras Race Club (Photo | madrasraceclub.com)

COIMBATORE: The Nilgiris district administration expropriated 52.34 acres leased to the Madras Race Club based on a recent judgment by the Madras High Court. Revenue Department officials led by the Revenue Divisional Officer R Maharaj, Udhagamandalam, took part in the recovery procedures on Friday.

The state government had leased the land in Udhagamandalam West Village to the Madras Race Club in 1978. The club failed to pay the lease amount of Rs 822 crore from 2001, despite a notice in this regard by the state government. Also, the club filed a case in the Madras High Court regarding the land.

In the recent judgment by the High Court, it permitted the state government to expropriate the land from the club’s possession. Thereafter, Nilgiris District Collector M Aruna directed revenue officials to take possession of the land. The land was expropriated by the officials accompanied by the police on Friday.

The land has now been allocated to the Horticulture Department to set up an ecopark, the Collector said. The Horticulture Department started the preliminary work for this purpose after taking control of the land on Friday.

According to sources, the present race course was established in 1896. In 1978, the MRC had an agreement with the revenue department for continuing the lease agreement. Till 1986, the club had paid `84,977 as lease rent for a year. From 1986 to 1997, MRC did not pay any lease rent as the Tamil Nadu government had taken over the operation of the race course.

In 2002, the Nilgiris district administration had sought enhanced lease rent. After the MRC approached the HC, a modified rent of `84,977 per year and 12% increase of rent from the previous year was effected from 2001. Even after the fixation of the rent, the dispute continued. The government claimed the MRC did not comply with the agreement. HC’s verdict in 2019 came in favour of the government.

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