A cobbler stall in Mira Road
A cobbler stall in Mira Road

Seeks Mayor’s intervention into stall issue

Bhayandar : Fed up of constant harassment cobblers operating from licensed stalls in the twin-city have teamed up to register their protest against the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC). Despite being beneficiaries of authorised stalls under the government’s scheme, some officials in MBMC’s license department had been orchestrating a ploy to get rid of the stalls and snatch their livelihood, alleged the cobblers. They have threatened to launch an agitation under the aegis of the ‘Rashtriya Charmkar Mahasangh’ (RCM).

As per records, the erstwhile municipal council had issued licenses to over 200 cobbler stalls in 1996. After a resolution to this effect was passed by the standing committee in 2001, an assessment of licensed stalls was done and the cobblers were issued commercial-user tax receipts at a subsidised rate of Rs. 2.40 per sqft. This also helped the cobblers to procure electricity for their stalls. However since 2010, the MBMC has imposed a restriction on issuing new licenses.

“It is ironic that officials from license wing are adamantly refusing to acknowledge the validity of decade-old licenses issued after a resolution was passed in the MBMC. Such injustice will not be tolerated,” said RCM city chief Baliram Tawre.

Not only a five-fold increase in the existing tariff of Rs. 2.40 has been imposed, the MBMC is also demanding a 10-year tax difference as per the new pay structure which amounts to an astronomical figure of more than Rs. 20,000.

Refuting the allegations, deputy civic chief Deepak Kurulekar said, “We are only following the latest resolution passed by the general body in context to new tax tariff and fresh guidelines for the stalls.”

The MBMC has further complicated the renewal process by putting forward impractical documentary demands including NOCs from various agencies including traffic police and also notarised affidavits similar to the 11-month leave and license agreement.

Meanwhile, a delegation of cobblers met Mayor Catlyn Pereira seeking her intervention in the issue.

Suresh Golani

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