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Industrial Focal point, Mandi Gobindgarh, Dist. Fatehgarh Sahib
C- 55, Focal Point, Mandi Gobindgarh District, Industrial Focal point, Mandi Gobindgarh - 147301, Dist. Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab
from 'cottonopolis' to crime city, the story of mumbai mills
Mumbai was known as the Manchester of India and, more recently, the erstwhile cottonopolis. But by the mid-1990s, there were only 54 mills left, most taken over by the central governments National Textile Corporation after falling irretrievably sick.
Shakti (silk) Mills followed a somewhat similar trajectory and was ordered by the high court to close in 1981. All owners did not plough back their profits into modernising mills, and diverted profits to other industries.
This was made possible by an amendment to the states Development Control (DC) rules in 1991, coinciding with the liberalisation of the economy, for the first time permitting the sale of land provided two-thirds of the area was surrendered for public use.
As I documented in my book, Ripping the Fabric: The Decline of Mumbai and its Mills (OUP, 2002), it was the Khatau saga that had all the ingredients of a Mollywood blockbuster, replete with guns, gangland killings and the subversion of unions.
As it happens, the Khataus are one of the earliest mill-owning families in Mumbai. Their mill in Byculla was 125 years old in 1994, which means that it was established barely a dozen years after the first mill in the city. It occupies 13 acres of very valuable land.
Chairman Sunit Khatau wanted to sell his Byculla land and move the mill to his 40-acre plot in Borivli. But, RMMS president Haribhau Naik opposed the sale. However, vested interests fixed the elections to bring in someone more pliant, with the active connivance of gangster Arun Gawli, who lived in Dagdi chawl in Byculla.
Again the vested interests are believed to have connived with Gawli to sell his Byculla land, with the dons henchmen infiltrating the mill as security guards who would persuade workers to agree to the sale of land.
Gawli is variously alleged to have been promised Rs5 crore or 5% of the sale value the land was estimated to fetch anything between Rs250 and Rs400 crore, considering it was at the height of Mumbais real estate bonanza.
Had the Byculla land deal gone through, Naik feared that Gawli would be able to eliminate rivals. It was also said to be in retaliation for the near-fatal attack on Ashwin Naik, Amars brother, on April 18 at the sessions court in Mumbai, when he was shot in the head at point-blank range, which reduced him to partial paralysis.
Vallabhbhai Thakkar, the owner of Raghuvanshi Mills was killed by two assassins at point-blank range. According to the police, the gangsters were allegedly sent by Sada Pawle, a close associate of Arun Gawli who was running the gangs operations during the latters imprisonment, to demand some money from the mill owner as payment for coercing some of Thakkars tenants to vacate their premises.
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