At the improvements committee meeting on Tuesday,corporators cried foul as the civic body is yet to finalise a policy for its municipal markets. They allege that the absence of such a policy has held up over 30 redevelopment proposals for markets.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Milin Sawant said a detailed report on the current status of the BMCs municipal markets would be prepared by the civic administration in around 15 days.
Congress corporator and improvements committee member Mohsin Haider said the policy issue had held up the redevelopment of many municipal markets is in abeyance since 2006. After the Crawford Market redevelopment project,the BMC has not taken up any development of markets on its own or through public-private partnerships because we do not have a finalised market policy. Many dilapidated market buildings are in need of repairs and have been left unattended. In some instances,the vendors themselves have approached the BMC asking for permission to construct basic repairs on the market to which the corporation has said refused because of a lack of policy, said Haider.
Also,a number of newly developed markets have not yet been handed over to vendors for operation and have been lying vacant for years. For example,as per a point of order raised by BJP corporator Prakash Gangadhare,the Khatauwadi market in Tardeo has been lying vacant since it was developed 10 years ago. The BMC had acquired it for Rs 7.45 crore as the plot was reserved on a privately owned land. Today however,it remains unoccupied as has seen encroachments.
Many markets are developed on by private owners depending on if the plots reserved for these fall into public or private land. Through the incentive of Transferable Development Rights,many owners have developed 15 per cent of their land as required but still lie vacant as the BMC has not yet handed over possession to vendors. The court has directed the BMC to create a policy but the administration is taking too long with it – it has been over three years now, said Shiv Sena corporator Ramakant Rahate.
It may be noted that the delay in policy-making was caused due to objections raised by the corporators themselves whenever the draft was put for approval.
At present of the 103 municipal markets jurisdiction,three markets in the suburban area have undergone redevelopment. Most of the markets are over 50 years old and are in a dilapidated condition.
Deputy municipal commissioner Milin Sawant said,Former municipal commissioner Jayraj Phatak had created a market policy that was deferred to the Urban Development department following opposition from corporators,it was brought up again during former municipal commissioner Subodh Kumars tenure but was once again deferred due to opposition. This is why the policy has been delayed. He added,We will look into how many markets have been already developed but not yet handed over,how many plots reserved for markets are yet to be developed and how many reserved plots are yet to be notified.