BMC may privatise Deenanath theatre in Vile Parle

There are plans to give the running of even the technical departments like air conditioning, electricity and stage on contract. This theatre was re-inaugurated three months back after being shut for more than two years for renovation

The first theatre constructed and run by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) might now be fully outsourced. It is learnt that the civic body may privatise the functioning of the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Natyagriha in Vile Parle and shift the current staff to other places.

The renovated Master Deenanath Mangeshkar theatre. It is the first BMC run and constructed theatre. File pic
The renovated Master Deenanath Mangeshkar theatre. It is the first BMC run and constructed theatre. File pic

This theatre was re-inaugurated three months back after being shut for more than two years for renovation. However, while a BMC source said the proposal of giving the technical departments of the theatre on contract has been signed by Additional Commissioner S V R Srinivas, he denied signing any such proposal.

The renovation cost the BMC Rs 8.99 crore. File pic
The renovation cost the BMC Rs 8.99 crore. File pic

Srinivas said, “The shows are run by BMC and we don’t have plans for outsourcing. Contractors might be considered for maintenance purpose but nothing has been decided on this yet.” The housekeeping department, ticket window and canteen at the theatre are already with contractors.

If the source is to be believed, the technical aspects that the BMC employees handle, like the Air Conditioner department, electrical department and the stage, may now be handled by contract employees. The opposition has alleged that giving the charge to a contractor seems to be the easy way out of giving benefits to BMC employees.

They say this is what BMC did in the case of Citizen Facilitation Centres in 24 wards. The centres were begun for citizens to lodge complaints related to solid waste management, drainage, storm water drain, roads and traffic, factories, license issues, water supply, pest control, buildings, encroachment etc.

Opposition leader in the BMC, Devendra Amberkar has written to the municipal commissioner objecting to the privatisation. He said, “If this is how the BMC is going to work, then tomorrow it will be governed by the contractors and there won’t be any jobs left for newcomers.

Earlier they did this at Prabhodhankar Thackeray theatre and now they want to do this at Deenanath. At Prabodhankar Thackeray theatre profits are earned because a hall in the premises is given for marriages.

At Deenanath there is no such source. Why pay the contract employees when our employees can easily do the same?” The renovation cost the BMC Rs 8.99 crore. This included repairs of the building, installation of elevators and new seats for the 916 seat capacity theatre.

A BMC official said, “The proposal of giving even the technical departments on contract has been signed by Additional Commissioner S V R Srinivas, and this basically is because we have to pay our employees overtime, which has already become a problem. If the private people come in we won’t bother about their overtime. They will maintain things and just a contract amount will have to be paid.”

About the theatre
>> Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Natyagriha is the first theatre owned and constructed by BMC. It began in 1978.

>> The reason for starting the theatre was the promotion of art and culture in society, and also to do so at reasonable rates.

>> It is named after Master Deenanath Mangeshkar, a noted vocalist and actor. He is the father of the famous Mangeshkar siblings: Lata Mangeshkar, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and composer Meena Khadikar.

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