If the poorest citizen who has some land on which there are tenants, sees a possibility of developing it, what does he do? He approaches builders and figures out who will offer the highest sum to him.
This simple principle has not occurred to the BMC. It is about to gift over Rs500 crore of citizens property in Crawford market and a few thousand crore across all Municipal Markets!
The information given under Right To Information from the Market department of BMCmakes horrifying reading. I have obtained copies of the proposal using RTI.
The primary reason for this grand policy and proposal is that the BMC claims it wants to provide markets to citizens. It laments that since it does not have resources, it seeks to give all the benefits to tenants and developers.
Under this policy, the tenants negotiate with the developers, and MCGM gifts the developer extra FSI, which will ultimately burden the infrastructure. In return, it gets some constructed space free of cost, calculated as a percentage.
Using information regarding the financial implication of the Crawford redevelopment proposal, procured under Right To Information, it becomes clear that the BMC,- the owner of the land,- gets free construction cost of Rs42.4 crore and allows the tenants and developer to gain over Rs1000 crore
There are enough private developers of markets. The proposed development will also have an undesirable impact on traffic and amenities. We are creating a nightmare, apart from changing the Heritage skyline.
If there are strong reasons for this development, the developer could be appointed as a contractor or given the property on six-year lease basis. This will generate more revenue to the BMC.
Every Mumbaikar including the poorest loses about 1000 rupees in this. The corporation put the proposal aside in October, 2006-perhaps because of the impending elections.
Now they are planning to revive it. Unless citizens and media oppose this, it the disrobing of citizens by Rs1000 crore will proceed. —(The writer is an former IIT professor and renowned Right to Information activist)
While elected representatives in the BMC deliberate on reopening the controversial Crawford Market redevelopment proposal, BMC chief Jairaj Phatak, the person at the helm of civic affairs, believes that the redevelopment must be through open tendering.
“Any redevelopment proposal through private participation must be through a transparent and open tendering process,” Phatak said.
The redevelopment of the ancestral market, that was recorded by the Sena-led government a year-and-a-half ago following public outcry, was formulated using the old market policy that allowed existing license holders and shopkeepers (there are 726 of them) to appoint their developer M/s East and West Developers.
The proposal would allow the developer to demolish existing structures at the market and construct vertically using an FSI of 4.
However, claims that the developer would make more than Rs1000 crore from the proposal while BMC made only Rs50 crore odd forced the Sena-led ruling alliance to resist from approval.
Phatak’s assertion gains importance with the redevelopment issue coming to the fire again after RPI councillor Babasaheb Bansode moved a notice of motion to reopen it. If the proposal is revived then Phatak can make the administration’s stand known to the general body.
“If the commissioner states open tendering was in the better interests of the corporation, it will weigh on the deliberative wing while exercising their opinion over the proposal,” a councillor said. Phatak also conveyed his stand to RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi, who visited his office on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the issue was dropped from this month’s agenda after Bansode remained absent for the Thursday’s meeting. The issue could now be taken in next month’s general body meetings. BMC officials said Bansode or any other corporator could offer to reopen the proposal.
Sena councillor and Standing Committee Chairman Ravindra Waikar said, “The administration can express its stand in front of the group leaders. If it is in the interests of the city, we will go by it.”
Market Force ( An article by Shalini Singh in Tehelka,com)
A sting operation has been presented to us publicly,” says RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi on the ongoing controversy surrounding Mumbai’s famous Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market, better known as Crawford Market. What’s bugging him? The 138- year-old market is a landmark heritage structure located in south Mumbai, where every day, amongst the muck and chaos, traders run a brisk wholesale business of fruit, vegetables and other household items. But things will now change. A redevelopment plan has been passed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in a flash, despite protests from the corporators of the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, to give the market a major facelift.
The plan — passed without a tender — entails selling the BMC-owned portion of the market to one RNA Builders. Under the plan, the area occupied by the licencees, about 6,200 square metres, will be re-allotted, though the BMC claims that the heritage section of 5,500 square metres won’t be touched. A high-rise mall with a built-up area of 65,000 square metres will be constructed. Congress MP Milind Deora is aghast at the move and has protested in a letter to the corporators.
“How can the public’s property be given away without taking the land value into account?” asks Gandhi, one of the first to protest against this brazen sell-out of the market that runs up a daily business of Rs 11 crore. Besides the money factor, there are two more pertinent issues bothering many. First, the market lies within 500 metres of the buffer zone of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus that was conferred World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 2004. As per the guidelines, no high-rise is allowed within the site. So how will the mall come up?
The second issue is traffic. How will the already crowded market accommodate the additional shops in the high-rise that will bring more footfalls and vehicles? Gandhi believes that an arrangement has been worked out between the developers and licencees. Lauding the redevelopment move, Ashok Kokane, leader of the market’s Phal Vikreta Vyapari Utsav Mandal, says: “Foreign MNCs and companies like Reliance have started chains of air-conditioned supermarkets, where people will prefer to go. We will lose our livelihood if we continue like this.” What about the traffic problem that’ll ensue? “Underground parkings will be built. There will be no problem,” says Abdul Malik, another Mandal member.
But local residents have launched a tirade against the move, citing a threat to heritage. Allowing a high-rise to come up within the heritage area means losing the world heritage status.
Says historian Sharada Dwivedi: “The market represents our past. Besides, more viable solutions can be worked out.” Narayan Verma, former president of the Bombay Chartered Accountants Society says the BMC has no right to pass a plan like this where citizens are concerned. “How could they allow no discussion on the plan at the meeting? There has to be a tender process.” A few months back, a group of concerned citizens sought the opinion of various corporators. Gandhi says that 85 out of 93 corporators, as well as Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and Congress leader Rajan Singh, agreed that the plan shouldn’t be passed. “Mayor Shubha Raul said she’d talk to party leaders about pulling back the plan. But later they all buckled under pressure,” says Gandhi, adding: “What is this pressure all about?”
It is not that everything is lost. The BMC can still solve the problem by simply spending Rs 15 crore to rebuild and spruce up the market space, and can even float a tender to offset the cost. But obviously there are other plans. “The plan should be as per policy. The only thing driving this move is corruption at the government level,” says Gandhi. As of now, the BMC has not reacted.
Agni keeps Crawford Market issue burning
Monday, October 15, 2007 08:46 IST
Agitated by the way corporators and their parties have gone about the Crawford Market deal, activists are mobilising support against the proposed private development of the Crawford Market. They now want party leaders to make public their stand on the issue of redeveloping open plots in the city.
At the fourth meeting organised by the A-ward’s joint area action group of the NGO Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI), 45 activists drafted a four-point resolution which they want the parties to accept.
The meeting was also attended by three corporators from the ward along with the local MLA Annie Shekhar and BJP’s Shaina N C. Amongst the activists were members of Oval Cooperage Residents Association, Citispace, Mahiti Adhikar Manch, Cuffe Parade Residents Association and AGNI.
Terming the market deal as “treacherous”, RTI activist Shialesh Gandhi said, “Despite 85 corporators, the Mayor and the opposition leader agreeing that deal was not in the city’s favour they still passed it. Similar will be the case with 100 other markets in line, make the public lose over Rs6000 crore.”
Congress corporators present at the meet sought to wriggle out of the situation saying the Mayor had not allowed them to speak during the passage of the Crawford Market redevelopment proposal. However, Gandhi observed that “even kindergarten kids nowadays don’t take in all that their teacher tells them, how can our coprorators let such a proposal pass without enough questioning.”
When Congress corporator Vinod Shekhar’s proposed that the activists should approach the party leaders, the activists retorted, “it was the responsibility of elected representatives to do so.”
Congress’ Vijaya Dhulla, under whose ward's jurisdiction the Crawford Market falls, said, “If we don't follow our leaders’ line, it will lead to disqualifications, re-election and more expenses.” An activist replied, “So be it. We keep holding elections till we get the right candidate.”
Activists seek support against Crawford proposal DNA Correspondent May even consider holding a satyagraha and filing a PIL
MUMBAI: Continuing their tirade against Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Janhit Manch, which works to promote good governance, held a meeting with residents of Vile Parle on Sunday to garner support against the the proposed redevelopment of Crawford Market.
They resolved to hold similar meetings in different areas of the city. Bhagwanji Raiyani, president of the Janhit Manch, said, “We will consider satyagraha and filing a Public Interest Litigation if need be.”
The meetings are part of the Jawab Dya campaign launched by NGOs to seek answers from corporators who passed the proposal. Those opposed to the proposal believe that if the market is redeveloped as per the proposal, it could lead to a loss of over Rs1,000 crore to the corporation.
Referring to the 9/11 tragedy, RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi said, “The Crawford proposal, passed on September 11, was the second tragic thing to happen on this date.”
He added, “Out of the 15 corporators who had confirmed attendance, only two were present at the meeting.” The two corporators who attended the meeting were of Samajwadi Party (SP), which has asked for the proposal to be reopened, after supporting it initially.
Mohsin Haider, SP corporator, said, “If redevelopment is carried out in the proposed manner, it could only spoil things. It will be like any other mall that private developers have built. Who will want to sell vegetables when selling garments will be more profitable?”
Haider added that the problem of encroachment by hawkers on the road may persist in that case. He said such redevelopment raised the need to discuss the rules and policies of the corporation.
Mahim corporators don’t show up at Crawford Market’s Jawab Dya Abhiyan
Mahim residents were let down when five corporators of the G/North ward kept them waiting for one-and-a-half hours at the Jawab Diya Abhiyan meeting last week (November 1) and eventually none of them showed up.
The Mahiti Adhikar Manch, Mahim, organised the meet to discuss issues relating to Crawford Market being developed by a private developer.
Residents had invited corporators – Meena Desai and Naresh Mane from Congress, and Snehal Jadhav, Ajit Pandit and Santosh Parab from the Shiv Sena.
“The corporators have proved that they are not concerned about the market being re-developed by a private builder, even if it nears a huge loss for the BMC,” said Ashok Dattar, an organiser of the meeting.
Angry residents have now decided to display absentee corporators’ posters with their names on it at various buildings, so that residents remember them when they come asking for votes in the next election, said Mahim resident Ayesha Khan.
Pandit questioned why the Manch was interested in the issue, which is not supposed to be discussed at the ward level, alleged Dattar, adding that Desai had agreed to attend the meeting, but later excused herself saying she had a meeting with the chief minister.