Is the Maharashtra government all set to get its third secretariat building? Possibly. The Air India building at Nariman Point is a step closer to becoming the new space from where Maharashtra will operate.
The existing two secretariat buildings are the main Mantralaya building where all the ministers and various departments have space and the new administrative building, also known as Annex Building, right opposite it that was built in 1960.
According to sources, the Maharashtra government has made a fresh offer to acquire the Air India building, and an official announcement is expected in the next few weeks. The iconic building is 500 metres away from the Chief Minister’s Office at Mantralaya.
The government is in dire need of additional space to accommodate staff, as the current buildings face a space crunch.
The 23-storey building on the Queen’s Necklace is on the block for almost a decade now, as part of the Union government’s asset monetisation plan to pare Air India’s debt level. This highrise was constructed in 1974 and was the national carrier’s corporate headquarters until 2013.
The building has been up on the block on several occasions in the past, with other organisations showing interest. Those included Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Life Insurance Corporation of India and the government.
In January 2022 the national carrier was officially handed over to the Tata Group. As of August 31, 2021, the airline had a total debt of Rs61,562 crore. Of that amount 75% was transferred to AI Asset Holding Ltd to monetise the assets and pare the debt. The remaining 25% went to the Tata Group. Several assets including the erstwhile Air India headquarters remained with the government.
Prior to selling Air India to the Tata Group, the Ministry of Civil Aviation was expecting to fetch around Rs2,000 from partially selling the building, as it wanted to retain about 5,000 square feet of the overall 2,20,000sqft space.
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