PCB move on Shivaji Market pact hits vendor wall

The Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) considering formatting a draft agreement for transfer of ottas to legal heirs of vendors at Shivaji Market has invited strong opposition from vendors. The draft agreement for transfer of stalls to legal heirs/ others proposed by the PCB, objections for which are being invited, affects over 450 allottees at the market who have been running businesses there for generations.

The Shivaji market, with 360 vegetable vendors, 17 fish stalls, 20 chicken stalls, 23 mutton stalls and 43 beef vendors is one of the oldest markets in the city with businesses being run over generations. Given that the market space is owned by PCB, the vendors have been paying rent to the board of which Rs 47 lakh was outstanding as of March 31, 2012. In a bid to streamline the process of transferring the stall/ otta to legal heirs in case of death of a vendor or transfer to others, the PCB introduced the draft which is likely to be considered for approval in the general body meeting in near future. The vendors find certain clauses in the draft objectionable and are opposing it.

"The draft says the legal heir has to enter into a 30-year agreement with PCB. This is unacceptable. Also the current rent of Rs 120 per month for vegetable vendors, Rs 800 for fish and chicken vendors and Rs 400 for mutton vendors were made applicable in 2004, and are in any case high. The proposal to increase rent by 15 per cent every five years is unacceptable," said Shankar Surve, a vegetable vendor. While a number of pending cases of transfer could not be obtained, Surve, also a member of the Vegetable Vendors' Association estimated it at 50 per cent, which is about 225 plus.

A meeting of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Committee of the PCB was held on October 4 and was attended by representatives of the board as well as vendors. "We want rent receipts and not rent fee. The draft includes a clause to issue trade licence to legal heirs in whose names stalls are to be transferred. This is a welcome step given that we required trade licence for the most basic formality such as opening a bank account. We are not ready to do ink any agreement and have demanded that the board first remove illegal encroachment outside the market that affects our business," said Shaikh Abdul Rashid, chairman, Macchi Khatik Vyavsayik Sanghatna, Shivaji Market. Rashid was one of the representatives for the October 4 meeting. The vendors have demanded a parking space for their vehicles since the existing parking space has been encroached.

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