Higher rent effect: Fewer Firecracker stalls on PMC land

Number of stalls goes down to 48 from over 80 in 2002; association of sellers says it's thinking of moving to private land from next Diwali

Firecracker wholesalers and retail businessmen in the city are mighty unhappy with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) this Diwali. Especially upset are those who do their business at the Mhatre Bridge D P Road as they say they have been charged exorbitant rent for 22 days.

Burning issue: Firecracker stalls near Mhatre Bridge. PIC/Krunal Gosavi

The Fire Cracker Association (FCA) is so frustrated that it says it is now seriously thinking of shifting to a private land next year rather than using PMC land. In 2002 there were over 80 stalls, and this figure has now reduced to 48.

Last year the stall charges were Rs 1.10 lakh, but this year the charges are Rs 1.36 lakh. The FCA is demanding a reduction in the stall charges as the overall sale of crackers has gone down. Last year the total transaction was about Rs 1 crore and this year the FCA is expecting it to be only Rs 70 to 80 lakh.

"It is difficult to survive as the business is already going from bad to worse," said Chandrakant Amrawale, president, FCA Pune. "We have paid Rs 1.36 lakh for one stall at Mhatre Bridge and that rent is too much. One can understand how much the PMC might be earning only on renting out the place for stall. There is a 40 per cent rise in the rent cost compared to last year."

According to Amrale, firecracker sales have gone down because of the high prices of many other commodities.
"The PMC doesn't want to understand our problems and is looking at us as a means of earning money. The PMC may be earning over Rs 50 lakh in renting charges alone this Diwali season," Amrale said.

PMC says
Sudhakar Deshmukh, deputy commissioner, PMC Land and Estate Department, said the stall rent was decided in auction. "The maximum rate of Rs 1.36 lakh has been decided in the auction, which is for 22 days and not 15 days," he said.

PMC vs pvt land
>> PMC provides land for 68 firecracker sellers at Mhatre Bridge and Aalandi Road.
>> In contrast, firecracker sellers on private land in the city number 700.

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