The marginal controversy of NMMC refuses to die down. The protest this time has been reported at Nerul where the merchants and vendors of the Retailers Merchant Association have alleged NMMC officials of harassment for using marginal space. They allege that despite following all norms, NMMC officials allegedly demand bribe else threaten to take action. The merchants and vendors of Nerul and Seawood allege that they are harassed by NMMC officials for using marginal space. They state that they have not violated any norms of using marginal space but they are still harassed by the NMMC officials. Around 2000 merchants have their business in Nerul since many years which expanded when the Seawoods area was developed. But in the last 11 months, 70 to 80% of the retailers are forced to close shop as NMMC officials eye those shops from where they can conveniently fill their coffers. According to NMMC records, they have so far collected marginal space usage revenue as follows : In the year 2002-2003, Rs 5,66,050 In the year 2003-2004, Rs 12,57,904 In the year 2004-2005, Rs 13,93,850 In the year 2005-2006, Rs 10,66,250 In the year 2006-2007, Rs 8,80,000 Thereby the total amount surpasses a whopping Rs. 51 lakhs. Merchants make serious allegations against NMMC officials saying that they are given the choice to pay bribe and use marginal space or face action. The merchants at Nerul had even applied for information under RTI to know under what law is NMMC scrapping marginal space. Ever since, NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata has scrapped marginal space to ease congestion on footpaths for pedestrians and locals, it has attained serious controversial colors. It is not hidden from anyone that the Commissioner’s decision has also given an opportunity to few officials to indulge in palm greasing. Unless, the NMMC conducts uniform implementation of its decision, the controversy will refuse to die down. With cameraperson Dyaneshwar Mali, Archana Tripathi for NMTV News.
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