Major move: All shops at Futala Lake will be demolished soon: NIT Chairman

Nagpur: In a significant development, the Chairman of Nagpur Improvement Trust Ashwin Mudgal announced that all shops along road facing Futala Lake will be demolished soon. NIT will be constructing galleries in place of the removed shops for spectators to witness light and sound show the NIT would be starting soon at Futala Lake.

It may be recalled that a ‘first finder’ years ago had submitted a proposal to NIT for maintenance of the lake and commercial development on the road facing the lake. But the developer played a “dirty game” and allotted the space to a number of food kiosks ‘illegally’ breaching the agreement clause of not subletting the space to other party. The agreement clearly said that developer itself has to build the kioks and run and it cannot allot the space to anyone. However, in sheer violation of the agreement the developer rented out entire shops to different vendors. The developer and the ‘illegal’ vendors dented the coffers of NIT and NMC as well in the form of various pending taxes.

It is pertinent to mention that the Nagpur Improvement Trust had allotted the Agriculture Department’s land to the said developer on BOT (Build Own Transfer) basis. As per the plans, NIT entrusted the responsibility of maintaining cleanliness, securing natural ambience and taking care of permanent structure at Futala Lake with the said developer who would ensure its earning through hoardings display of advertisements, setting up food kiosks and its operation, parking collection from the designated parking way, fund generation through events organization, income from allowing fishing at the lake and few other resources. The deal was itself ‘illegal.’ However, neither the Urban Development Ministry nor the Agriculture Department acted against the NIT. In the meanwhile, the time limit given to developer lapsed in the quagmire of one court case or another. At the same time, the ‘illegal’ vendors stopped paying the rents to the developer.

The NIT served notices to all kiosk owners that additional construction had been illegally carried out in their establishments. Following this notice, the kiosk owners formed an association and led their delegation to NIT Chairman, demanding termination of contract to the developer. Few of the kiosk owners were not paying the rent even before the notices were served.

The NIT, the developer and the vendors, from time to time, moved courts and sought justice on their terms. Later, the food kiosk owners and other vendors formed a group and proposed the NIT to make a lease/rent agreement directly with them. But the NIT cold shouldered the demand.

In the meanwhile, NIT, vendors and the developer went on ‘arbitration’ spree which is going even to date.