Mumbai, Apr 9: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday assured the Legislative Assembly that his government would sympathetically consider the demands of shopkeepers outside Siddhivinayak temple here within the framework of existing laws.
Fadnavis was responding to discussion during a calling attention notice raised by Sada Sarvankar (Sena) who alleged that the shopkeepers were being harassed by the municipal authorities.
He said the shopkeepers outside the Ganesh temple at Prabhadevi in South Mumbai cater to nearly ten lakh devotees especially during auspicious days like 'Angarki Chaturthi' by providing them offerings to be made to the deity.
Out of the 85 shops outside the temple, 55 have been constructed with their own money. It was expected that the civic body would collect only property tax from them.
However, the civic body has asked shopkeepers to pay a premium of Rs 1.70 lakh each. He asked the government not to seek any tax other than property tax from these shopkeepers.
BJP legislator Mangalprabhat Lodha demanded that the government address a similar issue of hawkers outside Mumbadevi temple and Mahalaxmi temple in South Mumbai too.
Ashish Shelar (BJP) said licenses were given to these hawkers in 1998 and premium recovery notice was given in 2002. Fadnavis said the government would look into the issue and convene a meeting to discuss it.
He said the shopkeepers should also not send their agents behind devotees in a bid to sell their goods at the earliest.
"Such acts send a wrong message and the decorum of the religious place should be maintained," he added.