THE Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has slapped a fine of Rs 3.36 lakh on the Lalbaug mandal for “creating” 168 potholes in Lalbaug, Parel and Kalachowkie areas. The civic body has charged the mandal Rs 2,000 per pothole. Last week, BMC issued a notice to the mandal, asking it to pay the sum as soon as possible. In the letter, BMC also highlighted the fines imposed in the previous years, which the mandal has failed to pay.
According to the letter, BMC had imposed a fine of Rs 23.56 lakh on the mandal in 2012. In the following year, the fine was Rs 5.6 lakh and in 2014, it was Rs 5.56 lakh. This implies that BMC is yet to recover Rs 38.08 lakh in all from the mandal for “creating” craters in the last four years, officials said.
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“We have decided to forfeit their (mandal’s) deposits, which is Rs 2.78 lakh. For recovering the rest of the amount, we are in consultation with our legal department,” said Vishwas Mote, ward official from the F-South ward, which includes Lalbaug.
BMC has been collecting deposits ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 70,000 from the mandal every year, the official said. Sources said BMC may also resort to prosecution, if the mandal fails to pay the amount this year.
Ganesh mandals, however, said BMC’s methods of issuing notices to the organisers was unfair. Naresh Dahibhavkar, president of the Brihanmumbai Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, said the civic body should have issued a prior notice before imposing a fine on the organisers. The samiti is an umbrella body of all Ganesh mandals in the city.
“I have not seen the notice yet as I am in Pune, but it is wrong on the part of the administration to send notices without any prior intimation. If they are claiming that the mandal created 200 craters, then it is not right. The administration should conduct a recce of the area along with the representatives from the mandal before issuing such notices,” said Dahibhavkar.