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Bandra fair ‘boomtime' for the BMC

Tuesday, 16 September 2008 - 3:40am IST

Mount Mary fair in Bandra (west) is that time of the year when the license department of the BMC’s H-west ward makes a fast buck.

Auction of a candle stall near gate no 1 fetches the civic body Rs2.35 lakh

Mount Mary fair in Bandra (west) is that time of the year when the license department of the BMC’s H-west ward makes a fast buck.

A candle stall at the most coveted gala no 1 (near gate No.1) on Mount Mary Road was auctioned by the civic body for Rs2.35 lakh this year. Apart from this, more than 200 stalls have been auctioned on Mount Mary Road, St Sebastain Road, Mount Carmel Road, Rebello Road and St John Baptist road.

“The auction rates get lower as per the descending order of the stalls,” said a candle stall owner.

While gala no 2 was auctioned for Rs85,000, gala no 3 fetched Rs55,000. While eight galas from no  4 to 12 raked in Rs4 lakh this year.

When a candle stall owner from one of the auctioned galas was queried, he said, “We have no choice but to give in to the BMC’s demands. It’s a tradition we have followed for years. We take loan or sell our jewellery to buy the stall on rent.”

Ask him if he makes a good profit and he says, “We expect to sell 2 lakh candles during the fair and recover our cost on the stall. There are fewer customers visiting this place as compared to last year.”

As per the RTI findings by ALM 105 on May 20, 2006, the total revenue earned by the BMC every year from auction of stalls on St John Baptist Road alone was Rs 5,84,696, while the total revenue generated was Rs 16 lakh.

“So this year, the increase could be manifold. No wonder, the noise pollution has increased,” said Lilian Paes, resident of the area.

When ALM 105 queried about how the sizeable revenue generated from the Mount Fair was utilised, it got an inane reply from RTI that the revenue was deposited in the head licensing and removal of encroachments department on public street 10.

Besides earning revenue from the auction of galas, the license department also charges Rs 1,000 as deposit and Rs 200 for an entry form from each gala.

Apart from the auctioned stalls, the BMC earns from hundreds of unauthorised stalls on the foot of Mount Mary Road.

“The BMC confiscates our material and releases it for Rs10,000 at least,” said the owner of an unauthorsied stall.

Senior inspector of license R Khachne was not available for comment despite this correspondent contacting him thrice.

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