In order to decongest south Mumbai and make it free of pollution, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had allotted 56,888 sq m of land to the Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA) for setting up the Wadala Truck Terminus (WTT) in the 1990s.

One of the finished buildings at the WTT. Pic/Shadab Khan
One of the finished buildings at the WTT. Pic/Shadab Khan

However, it has come to the fore that besides incompletion of the development work, a few of the BGTA members who were allotted office spaces and godowns have allegedly rented or sold these spaces. These allegations have been levelled by Banarsidas Goel, a BGTA member who was promised office space at the WTT.

One of the under-construction structures
One of the under-construction structures

Goel claimed there are several members who own more than one office, and even alleged the presence of a car manufacturing unit belonging to a non-BGTA member. He claimed that despite repeated complaints to the MMRDA, which not only owns the plot but is also the Special Planning Authority for the area, no action has been taken till date.

BGTA member Banarsidas Goel
BGTA member Banarsidas Goel

Goel said, “Plenty of irregularities have been observed by the BGTA committee while allotting office spaces and godowns. Multiple sale and purchases have been done by some BGTA members, resulting in monetary losses to the state government. It was done to benefit major transporters.

On the one hand, there are members waiting for years to get what is rightfully theirs; on the other, there are a few who own multiple properties. But what takes the cake is that there are two companies which own office space in the WTT without having a transport background or any association with the BGTA. My complaints to the MMRDA Commissioner, CM’s office, Anti-Corruption Bureau and Registrar Office have fallen on deaf ears.”

Allegations
Goel accused, among others, the Federation of Bombay Motors TPT of owning about 15 offices in building B-8 and BGTA member Heavy Lifters of India Private Ltd of having two offices. He even alleged that the MMRDA was hand in glove with the fraudsters.

“This is unfair. There are over 400 members on the waiting list who have legally booked offices and have been associated with the BGTA for more than 20 years. On the contrary, there is someone who is not even into transport, but still he was allotted office space. Allocation of spaces to non-members speaks volume about the fraud.”

MMRDA speak
Speaking to mid-day, Deputy Metropolitan Commissioner and MMRDA (Land Cell) head Anil Wankhade said, “We have received a complaint alleging irregularities during the allocation of spaces to BGTA members by the committee. We have already appointed an officer who is investigating the same. Based on his findings, future course of action will be decided.”

Another official from the MMRDA added that the BGTA has claimed that around 900 of its members have booked offices and godowns in phase I of the project. But there was a delay in constructing the buildings. “We gave them a chance in 2005, and extended the deadline by three years. But even today the work remains incomplete,” the official said.