Civic body to move out a ‘security’ threat

Juna Bazaar,as it is known,may shift to another location in a year’s time with the Pune Municipal Corporation showing its readiness to implement a suggestion from the police commissionerate.

Written by Ranjani Raghavan | Pune | Published:March 26, 2009 3:05 am

PMC responds to Police Commissioner’s missive on Juna Bazaar; give us one year,says Pardeshi

Juna Bazaar,as it is known,may shift to another location in a year’s time with the Pune Municipal Corporation showing its readiness to implement a suggestion from the police commissionerate.

Calls for shifting Juna Bazaar from Mangalwar Peth area have been growing shriller,especially after the police commissionerate termed it a security threat and a potential law and order problem on Wednesdays and Sundays,when the bazaar meets.

Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh had said,in a letter to the PMC,that the bazaar aggravates the traffic chaos on these two days. The scrap and antique bazaar at Juna Bazaar brings together over 700 traders who lay out merchandise along the road at Mangalwar Peth.

“Intelligence agencies have said that terrorism has been increasing in Pune. On these two days,the public fear for their lives as they pass through these roads,” he wrote,in a letter addressed to the Mayor and the PMC administration two months ago.

Singh said traders block the one-km stretch between Shahir Amar Shiakh chowk and Kumbharves Chowk,causing heavy traffic chaos. He called for shifting the bazaar to the riverside or inside the nearby slums. “It has become difficult for the police to manage the traffic chaos,” he said.

Following this missive,the corporation,the police,the city traffic branch,and the Juna bazaar traders met once again in January — another one in a long line of such meetings that have been held over the last decade to discuss the shifting of the bazaar. Nothing concrete came out of the meeting,the traders said.

They say that if the bazaar is not shifted to a permanent place,then the PMC should be held responsible. It was in 2000 that the PMC general body passed a resolution granting over 4,300 sq m of land adjacent to the present location of Juna Bazaar in Mangalwar Peth. The land was given on a 99-year old lease to the Juna Bazaar Vikreyte Sanghatana. The idea was that they will mortgage the land and raise money to build their stalls. But the clause in the agreement between the PMC and the Sanghatana stipulates that the land cannot be mortgaged. “Since the land was given,we have been asking the PMC to remove this clause so that we can raise the required Rs 3 crore. We had approached the Bank of Maharashtra,Bank of Baroda and others,but they have refused us loans because of this clause,” said Vilas Wadekar,convenor of the sanghatana.

PMC officials said that at a meeting in October,they had agreed to remove the clause. When contacted,Municipal Commissioner Praveensinh Pardeshi said the no-objection certificate,allowing traders to mortgage the land,had been given to the sanghatana a few months ago. Wadekar,however,denies this claim. “Within a month of receiving the NOC,we will get the bank loan sanctioned and the building plan approved by the PMC,” he said. Pardeshi,however,said he will shift the bazaar within a year’s time.

The traders said the PMC and the police think of Juna bazaar only when their own vehicles get caught in traffic. “It’s a matter of one NOC. What is taking the PMC so long to sanction it?,” he said.

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