The amount includes this year’s fine of Rs 3.36 lakh, and total penalty adds up to Rs 38,13,820.
The famed Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshostav Mandal might be the city’s richest mandal, but when it comes to paying up its dues, it’s hardly one. The mandal has to pay the BMC Rs 38 lakh towards fine for leaving potholes on roads and footpaths over the years, but has so far failed to pay up despite repeated reminders from the civic body.The amount includes this year’s fine of Rs 3.36 lakh, and total penalty adds up to Rs 38,13,820.The BMC levies a fine of Rs 2,000 per pothole on mandals who fail to fill up holes they have dug up to install their canopies. dna had on Monday reported that several mandals had already received notices from the BMC, asking them to pay up or face stern action. Bills of some mandals like the Lalbaugcha Raja are running into lakhs of rupees.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They have not paid the fine for the last several years. We send them reminders every year but they do not respond. We are now trying to figure how the fine can be recovered through the mandal’s property tax assessment. We will recover the amount,” said Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner, F-South ward. Every year the mandal collects cash and jewellery worth around Rs 10 crore as offerings from devotees.According to civic officials, mandals owe the BMC an estimated Rs 2 crore for digging up roads outside their canopies. The city has about 11,800 Ganesh mandals. According to BMC rules, mandals that dig up roads for installing canopies and walkways are supposed to pay the BMC, which repairs the roads immediately after Ganpati. For those mandals that refused to pay up, the BMC decided to recover the amount from mandals’ property tax. But this measure also fizzled out.Last year, the issue of the Lalbaugcha Raja’s pending dues was revealed by Byculla resident Mahesh Vengurlekar under the RTI Act.The Lalbaucha Raja also uses two BMC gardens during the 10-day festival and pays a deposit for it. Similarly, it also pays a deposit of around Rs 70,000 each year for erecting canopies. “Their total deposit with the BMC is around Rs 3.35 lakh. We will forfeit all of that,” said a senior civic official.Sudhir Salvi, secretary of the mandal, did not respond to calls and text messages. However, other office-bearers said that they would first pay up this year’s fine of Rs. 3.36 lakh and then negotiate with the BMC on the pending amount.
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