MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has initiated discussions with Air India to purchase its iconic building located in the Nariman Point area of the city. Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte discussed the valuation of the building with Air India CMD Rajiv Bansal on Tuesday.

When contacted on Wednesday, Kunte told PTI, “discussions are going on”.

The debt-ridden Air India had floated tenders for the sale of the 23-storey building, which stands on the state government land, in 2018, but it failed to evoke a good response.

Air India officials told Kunte that their internal valuation of the building was more than Rs 2,000 crore to which Kunte asked them to share it with the state government, official sources said.

“The Air India building has become old. A private party will have to demolish the entire structure. We can use it for another eight to ten years to accommodate some government offices. The building cost cannot be over Rs 2,000 crore. Its actual cost would only be the strategic location and the land cost,” an official who attended the meeting on Tuesday told PTI.

The then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had evinced interest in purchasing the building to house various government offices given its proximity to the state legislature building and the secretariat overseeing the iconic Marine Drive.

“The debt-ridden national carrier Air India had floated tenders for the sale of the 23-storey building in 2018. But the response wasn’t good. So Air India approached the then state government and sought its participation in the tender. We did not participate in the tender process but the government wrote to Air India quoting a price of Rs 1,450 crore for the purchase. The actual price would have been around Rs 1,100 crore to Rs 1,200 crore since the government dues from Air India are around Rs 300 crore,” the official said.

When contacted, an Air India spokesperson declined to comment.



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