Hema Malini press conference
Picture: Actress and BJP MP Hema MaliniIANS

Government land in Maharashtra in the future will be allotted at prevalent market rates and as per the location in all cases except for farming, the state government announced on Tuesday.

The State Cabinet decision came close on the heels of a controversy regarding allotment of land in Andheri to veteran actor and Bhartiya Janta Party MP Hema Malini at the 1976 reckoner rate of Rs 70,000.

"Nobody should read too much into the decision only because it is being implemented now. We did nothing wrong in giving land to Ms Malini; everything is according to the rulebook," The Hindu quoted state Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse as saying. He added the decision was taken a while ago, and is only being implemented now.

Actor Hema Malini in December 2015 was alloted a high-value plot in Andheri, Mumbai, for her dance school, and the news made headlines after an RTI activist accused her of land-grabbing, reported The Indian Express. The state government's decision led to the BJP MP being criticised by members of her own party. 

The new policy will be implemented in the future and not retrospectively, leaving the plot given to Hema Malini's dance school in the clear, Khadse said.

Actor Hema Malini will get the land according to the 1983 government resolution as the decision to allot land to her was taken on Dec. 23, 2015.

A decision to finalise market rates of urban, semi-urban and rural land was cleared by the Maharashtra Cabinet on Tuesday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier directed that the 1983 government resolution, which provided land to academic institutions, cultural centres, and hospitals at discounted rates, be discontinued and a fresh policy drawn up, reported The Hindu.

"The land rates as per government notifications differ for every label. From now on, ready reckoner rates will be charged from trusts and individuals that use land for non-agricultural purposes," Khadse told The Hindu.