Fish vendors create roadblock in reconstructing rickety Shivaji Market

Oct 09, 2013, 20:37 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

In the aftermath of the Dockyard Road building collapse, Mumbai's civic body set the wheels in motion for repairs and reinforcements of its own dilapidated buildings.

As part of their effort, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) got the rickety Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Market in Fort vacated. Well, almost.

While the BMC’s 1,000 employees have shifted their offices from the premises, the fish vendors are refusing to vacate the place.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Market building on Palton Road, BMC’s A ward, was issued a notice declaring the disintegrating market a C2 category building -- meaning it needed urgent repairs.

Shivaji Market
Reinforcements needed: The BMC has appointed a consultant to survey the building and draw a plan to undertake repairs. Officials said the work will begin as soon as the contract is handed out

The major obstacle in getting the fish vendors to vacate the location is the lack of written communication from the BMC. The fisher folk are adamant that they won’t vacate the place till they get a written communication from the civic authorities.

The BMC, meanwhile, has decided that since the building is in non-repairable condition, they would be re-constructing it.

The BMC would be itself reconstructing the building without involving any developer and also would be reinstating all the 51 private office owners, wholesalers and retailers in the building.

The civic body decided to reconstruct the building following a detailed structural report from auditors that pointed out the futility of wasting money on repairing the building.

But this change in plans has created panic among the fish vendors, who are afraid that the re-instatement of all the license holders will be in the same buildings after its construction which the licensees thought would not happen.

MiD DAY had earlier reported that how the fish vendors claim that the building could be repaired and a private structural audit should be permitted as it is not only the BMC employees who will vacate the premises but also the private offices and fish vendors on the first floor, 

With the fish vendors doing a daily business of more than Rs 5 crore daily and they are afraid no alternative location has been provided for them.

They also questioned the ‘rapid’ deterioration of the same building, since they claimed that repairs have been carried out about 4 to 5 years earlier.

The BMC’s plan to reconstruct this building in approximately 3 year, Manisha Mhaiskar, Additional Municipal Commissioner, who is in-charge of this building, said,

“We will be reconstructing the building ourselves and no private developers will be involved. Approximately 3 years would be needed and all the private license holders will be re-instated back in this building whereas our employees are concerned we are yet to decide on this.”

Ayaz Sarigat, a fish vendor in the building, said, “The BMC has not communicated with us clearly and not telling us about the alternate accommodation and nor about the re-instatement, our businesses are here and we would not be moving out from here unless and until we are assured via a written letter we will not be vacating the premises.”

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