Failing to recover fines worth Rs 2 crore from the various Ganesh mandals in the city since 2013, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now mulling over reviving the method of collecting security deposits and also increasing that amount from the next year. The amount will be collected before the beginning of the festival in order to recover the costs later.
“We are currently in the process of devising the formula for collecting an early deposit from the Ganesh mandals from 2015. The mandals complain about the condition of the roads before the festival, but never pay for the potholes created by them. Every mandal in the city, on an average, makes 5-6 potholes, which leads to more than 50,000 craters in the city,” said additional municipal commissioner SVR Srinivas.
The city has over 11,000 mandals who are supposed to pay Rs 2,000 as fine for every pothole and also Rs 4,500 to erect canopies outside the pandal.
Till 2010, the mandals were supposed to pay a deposit of about Rs 2,000 – Rs 5,000 depending on the size of the pandal and the location.
The amount was later waived off as the civic body had created an e-database through which they could directly book the mandals flouting norms in the city.
“Right now, each mandal pays only Rs 150 to the civic body for using the space allotted to them. We have to revive and increase the amount of deposits as this is the only way we can recover the money. Once we have done that, we will also pay back the extra amount to the mandals,” said another civic official from the roads department.
The civic body had earlier withheld the permissions for major mandals in the city after they failed to pay last year’s amount.
The civic body’s method of collecting the amount as property tax also fizzled out as the mandals are not the owners of the property.
“We have been facing the problem of bad roads and potholes for years together now. If the civic body can’t solve that then we will also not pay the deposits next year,” said Girish Walwalkar, secretary, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, an umbrella body for all the Ganesh mandals in the city.