MP seek CM's intervention in Crawford Market re-development

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Mumbai, Sep 18 (UNI) Congress MP from South Mumbai Milind Deora has sought intervention of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh over the passing of controversial Crawford Market re-development scheme by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), where majority of councillors cast their votes in its favour.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr Deora in whose constituency the market is situated, stressed the need for taking corrective measures to eliminate alleged errors and omissions of the existing re-development scheme by demanding an inquiry and calling for fresh tenders.

He said he had been approached by many citizens concerned, who fear the proposed re-development of Crawford Market may lead to a loss of over Rs 1000 crore to the BMC. The citizens, using the Right to Information Act 2005, have found that the BMC stands to gain only Rs 42 crore with a whopping Rs 1049 crore usurped by the developer.

Mr Deora cautioned this precedent will be applied to other 101 municipal markets in Mumbai, making a complete mockery of the re-development policy, which is already drawing criticism for being flawed and non-transperant in nature. Although the re-development of the market would be put before the Mumbai Heritage conservation committee for clearance, considering past instances, citizens' groups fear the BMC may overrule any adverse decision taken by this committee.

Historians and conservationists are apprehensive that if a multi-storied structure is allowed to come up under this re-development proposal, there is a likelihood of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) losing its UNESCO heritage site status, he said.

''The manner in which the proposal was cleared in the BMC, flouting natural rules of transperancy'', has raised an aura of suspicion among the people. While one cannot expect the Shiv Sena-BJP combine to demonstrate the leadership required to take on vested interests, we in the Congress, must work to emulate the ideals laid forth in our organisation's constitution,''Mr Deora asserted.

Crawford Market, covering an area of 24,000 sq ft, was built in 1869. It was named after Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai. It was renamed as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule market. Located opposite to the city police headquarters, the market was Mumbai's main wholesale market for vegetables, fruits and poultry items till March 1996 when the wholesale traders were relocated at Navi Mumbai.


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