The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has slapped a fine of Rs 23 lakh on Lalbaugcha Raja mandal for failing to repair roads on which potholes were created by the mandal. The mandal owners have,however,refused to pay the fine. They say the mandal is not responsible for the 950 potholes for which it is being fined.
BMCs notice mentions potholes that were not created by the mandal. They sent us a notice last year but did not bother to follow it up. With Ganeshotsav round the corner,we have received the notice again, said Ashok Pawar,president of Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal.
The civic administration has charged the mandal Rs 2,000 for each pothole. Part of the fine is for creating potholes due to the main pandal and passage for devotees. It also includes a penalty of Rs 4.5 lakh for erecting a temporary iron structure and a bridge from Dinshaw Petit Lane in Lalbaug to G D Ambedkar Marg,towards Wadala.
The BMC is planning to recover the fine in the mandals property tax bill. The mandal has failed to fill the potholes which were created due to setting up of the stage and other infrastructure. However,we cannot stop them from erecting a pandal this year, said Mohan Adtani,additional municipal commissioner.
A major crowd-puller,Lalbaugcha Raja sees an average footfall of 50,000-1,00,000 on each of the 10 days of Ganeshotsav. It is amongst the richer mandals,having a fixed deposit of about Rs 15 crore and the idol garners over 100 kg of gold and 300-400 kg silver as offering by devotees every year.
Typically,the 11,600-odd Ganesh mandals in the city deposit Rs 5,000 with BMC every year as a security deposit, which is later foreited in case a mandal fails to repair potholes.
Meanwhile,BMC has promised Ganesh mandals pothole-free roads this monsoon. Of the 818 roads,the civic administration has now planned to give priority to those that fall along the immersion route. It has set a deadline of August 25 to fill all potholes.