MMRDA ground rental too steep: Team Anna

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 19:18

Mumbai: Maintaining that Rs 3.5 lakh per day
rent for the MMRDA ground was too steep, Team Anna on Wednesday
sought the state government`s intervention for lowering the
amount and said they may move court if the issue is not
settled amicably.
"We have told the chief minister and Mumbai Police
Commissioner to inform us where to sit (on fast). We cannot
pay such steep rent. We don`t have that much money," Team Anna
core committee member Mayank Gandhi told reporters here.

Praful Vora, convenor of the Mumbai chapter of the NGO
India Against Corruption, spearheading the anti-graft campaign
here, said, "Our legal advisers are asking us to file a writ
petition in the High Court seeking redress as ours in not a
commercial organisation."

"We may file the petition tomorrow or the day after."
Gandhi said Team Anna had planned the protest at Azad
Maidan but was told to shift the venue of the proposed fast to
MMRDA grounds in Bandra-Kurla Complex.

"If the government wants us to protest at MMRDA, it should
bear the expense," Vora said.
"It has hurt us and all Indians that for protesting in a
democracy, we have to pay Rs 17 lakh, including refundable
amount, for five days," he said.

Gandhi said they would not have any problem if a token
amount like Rs 2000 or Rs 5000 is charged as rent, "as was the
case with Ramlila ground".

Anna Hazare had yesterday said he would fast for three
days from December 27, followed by a three-day `jail bharo`
agitation.

IAC, which got the permission to rent the MMRDA ground
here to host the next leg of Anna Hazare`s anti-corruption
campaign, had yesterday written to chief minister Prithviraj
Chavan, requesting for waiver or reduction of rent.

"We were shocked to find that the average cost per day
would come to almost Rs two lakh. We therefore request you to
waive the entire charge or allow substantial financial
relief," Vora said in the letter.

"There is no doubt that a very large number of citizens
will join the fast and visit the site. This is likely to
strain the local resources. In view of this issue, it was
suggested to us to examine the MMRDA grounds (in Bandra-Kurla
Complex in suburbs) as it has ample space for visitors from
all over Maharashtra and India," Vora said.

The NGO pointed out that it is a "not for profit"
organisation and was working for a public cause. "We do not
allow surrogate advertisements or allow any lateral promotion
of commercial products or services. The entire cause is in
national interest to struggle for governance reforms," the
letter said.

"If exemption in the huge costs at MMRDA is not possible,
it is our request that adequate arrangements be made at Azad
Maidan to enable citizens to join the protest of Annaji from
December 27. We believe that 50,000 to 100,000 visitors will
want to visit every day," Vora said.

PTI




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