Mumbai: BMC has plans to take over Kalidas Natyamandir
It is learnt that following alleged irregularities and financial losses caused by the trust running the theatre, the BMC, which has spent Rs 27-crore in repairing it, now wants to run it
Local BJP leader Prakash Gangadhare has accused the trust that runs the Kalidas Natyamandir of administrative irregularities, illegal activities, and for adding to the financial burden on the corporation
In a move that could spark another fight between the Shiv Sena and BJP, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wants to take over the refurbished Mahakavi Kalidas Natyamandir art theatre at Mulund from the Priyadarshini Sports Complex management, over alleged irregularities and financial losses. The Priyadarshini Sports Complex, in whose premises the art theatre stands, was given to a trust, Brihanmumbai Krida and Lalitkala Pratisthan (BKLP) on 30 years lease in 1990. Currently BKLP, which runs the sports complex and the art theatre, is headed by Shiv Sena leader Adesh Bandekar.
The civic body recently refurbished Kalidas Natyamandir after spending R27 crore and it is to be inaugurated on July 18. According to a report prepared by officials from the Garden Department which looks after the sports complex, as per the agreement, though the major structural repairs were to be done by BMC, minor repairs and routine maintenance was to be done by BKLP. The officials have suggested in the report that as the BMC has spent so much on repairs, it should take over the art theatre and run it. This will also help the BMC earn revenue.
BMC starts repairs
However, when the refurbishment of Kalidas Natyamandir was started in 2015, it was seen that BKLP had failed to maintain it as per the terms and conditions. Following this the civic body started the refurbishment on its own. According to the civic officials, this added to the financial burden on the BMC, and was in violation of terms and conditions.
Local BJP leader Prakash Gangadhare has accused the trust of administrative irregularities, illegal activities, and for adding to the financial burden on the corporation.
Gangadhare alleged, "The trust is using the premises of a sports complex for commercial purposes. They have done several illegal alterations inside the complex. Also, the management earns crores of rupees by allowing marriages and parties there, but they did not pay a paisa to the BMC."
He added, "As per the agreement, it was the trust's responsibility to do repair work from its earnings, but the civic body has had to spend about Rs 70 to Rs 75 crore in the past 25 years on repair and maintenance. This is completely illegal and in violation of the agreement."
Pointing out some alleged irregularities, Gangadhare said, "The Trust earns money from giving the premises on rent, but most of the time the swimming pool is shut. Also, they have converted changing rooms into AC rooms which are rented for commercial purpose. The sports area has been turned into a banquet hall."
Head of the trust Adesh Bandekar, however, denied the allegations. He said, "There are no irregularities in the management of the trust. There are 16 members in the trust. The decisions are taken by the board and not by one person. I am on an honorary post. I only execute decisions taken by the board."
Another Sena leader said, "Of the 16 members, 11 members are part of the BMC. If there is a need for an inquiry, it should be of the entire trust. The municipal commissioner himself is on the board of the trust, so his role will also be in question."
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta was unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts to contact him.
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