Tale of two markets: Fund shortage hits relief, restoration of Shivaji Market and Fashion Street
Pune: The Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) does have funds to repair, reconstruct and restore the historic Shivaji Market and Fashion Street in Camp that was destroyed in fire recently. The estimated total loss to property according to officials is around ₹25 crore. The board has written to the district collector seeking release of ₹5 crore for repair and reconstruction of Shivaji Market citing non-availability of funds due to non-release of GST (goods and services tax) revenue by the government since 2017.
PCB is facing a financial crisis with the administration struggling to pay the staff’s monthly salary. Many development projects are affected as the administration is facing fund shortage of around ₹200 crore.
Fashion Street trader association has pegged the loss at ₹20 crore and the cantonment police have completed the panchnamas. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has directed the Collector Rajesh Deshmukh to examine the Shivaji Market and Fashion Street cases and submit a report on Friday.
PCB president Brigadier Kuljeet Singh said, “We are still deliberating on the losses and compensation. Currently, the board is not in place, but will take the issue ahead. We don’t have funds is a known fact and are seeking financial assistance from disaster relief. The board chief executive officer has also written to the civil administration for help.”
Shivaji Market vendor association president Manzoor Shaikh said, “The market needs immediate restoration and release of funds for repair and other related development. The vendors have sustained huge loss and since the board is facing bankruptcy, the elected representatives and ministers have been approached for funds.”
MG Road Hawkers and Pathari Seva Santha president MV Akolkar said, “Necessary petitions have been sent to the state government and the board seeking immediate restoration and repair work at the spot. The stall holders have lost their livelihood and efforts must be made towards compensation and allowing them to restart their businesses at the earliest.”
In September 2019, the then General Officer Commanding (GOC), south Maharashtra and Goa sub-area, Major General Navneet Kumar, had said, “PCB is going through a financial crisis and developmental works cannot be carried out in absence of funds. Our share, that is ₹150 crore is due from the state government. PCB is one of the high-value cantonments in the country and has been contributing towards the GST revenue through its acclaimed eateries and business establishments. The residents of the cantonment area are expecting the administration to develop the area, but the lack of GST funds is hampering the development. If the situation persists, it may lead to crisis in the governance, which is a big worry.”
Key projects hit
Construction of commercial complex at Dobhi ghat: ₹16 crore
Construction of footover bridge on Shankarsheth road: ₹2.50 crore
Multi-level car parking: ₹24 crore
Cleaning and beautification of Bhairoba nullah project: ₹84 crore
Construction of multi-level parking and podium garden at JJ Garden: ₹10 crore
Replacement of old water pipeline: Rs10 crore
Fashion Street reconstruction: ₹20 crores
Shivaji Market restoration: ₹5 crore