The BMC has been urged to take back Andheri Sports Complex and Kalidas Natya Mandir in Mulund for its upkeep and maintenance. These two cultural hubs belong to the BMC and are run by the Brihanmumbai Lalit Kala Prathishthan (BLKP), an apex administrative body of the BMC.
The BLKP was established in 1990 with the aim to promote art and culture in the city. Since then, the trust has been looking after these institutions and has also been responsible for its upkeep. However, earlier this month, the BLKP administrative committee sought Rs 25 crore interest-free loan from the BMC, stating it has hardly any money left to pay the bill and its staff.
Former assistant municipal commissioner Devendra Jain, who is also one of the trustees of BLKP, said that the trust doesn’t have enough money to meet its regular expenses as both the places have been shut for more than 15 months due to the lockdown.
“Most of the revenue used to come from cultural shows, sporting events and functions. It has been more than a year that there has been a ban on public gatherings and events. So, our revenue has generated no income,” Jain told FPJ on Tuesday.
He added that the loan amount will be used for paying future expenses.
“We are already paying a remuneration of Rs 10,000 to our staff from our fixed deposit. But to meet future expenses, we need the BMC to bail us out,” Jain said.
Even BJP corporator from Mulund Prakash Gangadhare has written a letter to the BMC, urging it to dissolve the trust and hand over the responsibility of these two places to an officer of the rank of additional municipal commissioner.
“There is no record on where the money of the trust is being spent. Whenever we seek for details, nobody replies to us,” Gangadhare said.
Furthermore, he said that the fixed deposit amount has dropped from Rs 18 crore to Rs 6 crore in past two years. The trust has not been able to give us details on where the money was spent. Jain said that the trust had a fixed deposit of Rs 7 crore, which currently has a closing balance of Rs 5 crore.
Besides the trustees, the mayor, deputy mayor, leader of opposition, municipal commissioner and additional municipal commissioner are part of the BLKP board.
Leader of Opposition in the BMC and senior Congress corporator Ravi Raja said that a meeting will be held on July 15 between the trustees and the BMC.
“The BLKP needs to pass a resolution giving out details of its expenses and the actual requirement of money need. We will then take a decision,” Raja said.
“The BMC has planned to hand over Mukund Natya Mandir to a private contractor for its maintenance. If they do so, we will oppose it,” said Raja.