After being slammed by corporators, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has rolled back the rent of its sports grounds within two months of revising it. Earlier this year, the civic body had increased the rent for booking sports grounds by almost 98 per cent. Accusing the civic administration of taking a step to discourage sports activities across the city, chairman of civic improvements committee and Shiv Sena corporator Anant Nar had urged the BMC to roll back the revised rents.
Nar said: “These are not private grounds, but owned by the civic body. They need to have affordable rent.” He added: “The rent for civic body-owned sports grounds were revised to Rs 15,500 and Rs 27,000. We questioned the hike as these are not the areas where the BMC should earn revenue from. These grounds are booked by schools and smaller organisations.” Civic officials claimed that the move will lead to more sports activities being organised across the city.
The rent for a ground measuring above 1,000 sqm that was revised to Rs 27,000 per day, has now been rolled back to Rs 610 (97.74% reduction). Rent for 500 sqm to 1,000 sqm grounds was revised to Rs 15,500 a day. It has been reduced to Rs 308 (98.01% reduction). The rollback would be implemented with immediate effect. “We have included the deposit amount that has been fixed at Rs 2,410 and Rs 1,210 (for the bigger and smaller grounds, respectively),” Nar said.
Kishore Kshirsagar, the deputy municipal commissioner, said: “Yes, the rates have been rolled back to the original. We have two policies for renting sports grounds. For sports events, we charge a higher amount. For school programmes, like annual day and sports meet, we charge lesser. There was some confusion and higher rates were charged. We have rectified this and a circular to this effect has been issued. The matter has been resolved.”