Mumbai: 7 years on, Pali market revamp is stuck
Vendors, residents complain about slow pace of work by developer, threaten to move courtmumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2017 10:10 IST
The construction of a 15-floor arcade building for Pali Market’s vegetable and fruit vendors has not moved forward for the past few years.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials said the project is unlikely to be completed any time soon.
The building would not only give the vendors a better place to sell their produce, but would also help clear the roads for movement of vehicles.
Local vendors and residents told HT a developer was given the redevelopment project , after a few vendors got together and suggested the idea, which the BMC cleared.
Assistant municipal commissioner in charge of markets, Sanjay Kurhade, said, “In 2010, the builder proposed a 15-storeyed building, where the ground and first floors would be for licensed vendors. The letter of intent was reissued in 2014 last.”
However, seven years on, a majority of vendors are unhappy with the slow pace of work and have threatened to go to court. They want the developer to drop the project if it cannot be completed. Workers and the developer’s staff at the project site told HT the remaining floors were for a podium and apartments.
Sanjay Khurakte, a vegetable vendor whose father first started the business in 1965, is one of the 79 license holders in the market who would be rehabilitated in the building.
“We brought the builder here, but he is causing us trouble. The BMC sent us two notices to pay the revenue the builder is supposed to pay. He has not even compensated us for it,” said Khurakte.
For years, the vendors have been operating from makeshift shops next to the under-construction plot.
“The vendors say they want to file a PIL against the developer for cheating them. He should be blacklisted by the BMC,” said Madhu Poplai, the secretary of the Pali Hill Residents’ Association
Despite repeated attempts by HT, the builder and his manager were not available for comment.
A response to an RTI filed by the Watchdog Foundation showed the same developer was to redevelop nine other markets in the city. Of these, the Pali Market and Tilak Market in Chembur are still under construction.
Poplai told HT, “Last December, a part of the built wall had collapsed. I don’t know how strong the building will be, as the builder is using old material.”
According to the BMC official, the latest deadline to complete the building is September 17. “The builder must at least rehabilitate the eligible vendors in the next two months,” said Kurhade.