Ganesh Mandals unhappy over NMC’s diktat to pay ground rent

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Aug 2018 09:10:31


Special Correspondent,

Installation of Lord Ganesh by Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Mandal in Orange City is now going to be a very costly affair. As Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has decided to levy Rs 5 per sq ft for using public land, the organisers of Ganesh Mandal will have to pay minimum Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 including all the charges for installation of Lord Ganesh at public places. Fuming with anger, the organisers have charged the NMC with fleecing the Ganesh Mandals to fill its empty coffers and making commerce out of faith.

Estate Department of NMC is levying several charges for giving permission to install Lord Ganesh on public places. As per directives issued on August 18, 2018 by NMC, the installation of Ganesh upto 100 sq ft land will attract minimum charge of Rs 500 along with Rs 200 application charges, Rs 500 for cleanliness, Rs 50 for advertisement charges and Rs 1000 for security deposit. In spite of these charges, the Fire Services and Emergency Department is charging Rs 1000 for its No Objection Certificate for pandal upto 1500 sq fts, and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) will also ask them to deposit of Rs 8,000 for three phase electric meter. The electric charges will be Rs 4.38 per unit. The Ganesh Mandals will have to obtain a certificate from State Public Works Department for NOC. In addition to that they have to file an affidavit on Rs 100 stamp paper to assure local body that they would vacate public space after Ganesh festival is over. It may be mentioned that Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has banned to erect Ganesh Pandals on roads and therefore, these mandals are erecting pandals at public places.

Ketan Mohitkar, President of Federation of Ganesh Mandals said, NMC should make festival free from all the charges. The minimum charges of Rs 500 for pandal of 10 x 10 sq ft is a cruel joke as this much space is used for bathrooms. The Ganesh Mandals are using minimum 500 sq ft to maximum 5000 sq ft for the erection of Pandals in open ground. If they are using 5000 sq ft land than they have to pay Rs 25,000 for 10 day festival. And if any mandal uses more than 5000 sq ft charges will be calculated as per size of pandal. He said, “We are collecting funds from the common citizens for the festival and we are paying ground rent to the local body. This should be stopped immediately.”

The civic body is also charging extra for erection of pillars and welcome gate of the pandals. The minimum charges for pillar and welcome gate is Rs 250 and maximum is Rs 500 for big welcome gate. The cleanliness charges is Rs 500 and advertisement charges is Rs 50. The local body will also levy security deposit of Rs 1,000 from small pandals and medium size pandals upto 300 sq ft and above it, the security deposit is Rs 5,000 and this is refundable. The fire services and Emergency charges are Rs 2,500 for pandal spread over more than 150 sq mts.

The advertisement charges will be Rs 50 per advertisement of 6 x 3 sq ft and if there are more advertisements, then Mandals will have to pay additional charges. This charges will also pave way for corruption as it is the sole discretion of local officer to levy charges as per his/her desire. Sources claimed that last year, several mandals paid Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 as ground rent to the local body. Ganesh Mandals have asked NMC not to burden public spirited citizens and help them to celebrate Lord Ganesh festival with traditional fervour.