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TRADERS FILE CONTEMPT OF COURT AFTER CIDCO AND MMRDA FAIL TO GIVE FACILITIES AT KALAMBOLI STEEL MARKET

kalamboli-1The Kalamboli Steel market is one of the biggest steel markets that were shifted to Navi Mumbai way back in 1989. However, despite a huge trade being carried out here, basic facilities evade the market. Since authorities have failed to act even on a High Court order, the traders have filed contempt of court. In 1989 with the view to decongest the Mumbai city, the steel market located at Darukhana in Masjid Bandar was shifted to Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai. The vast expanse of steel market occupies 302 hectare of land with 1960 plot owners trading in steel. Steel Authority of India, Tata Steel and other companies uphold there steel in these 1960 warehouses. The steel is supplied to small-scale retailers and traders. This steel market is one of the largest in Asia with the daily influx of 2000 heavy carrier trucks. Approximately 2000 to 3000 workers and drivers work here. CIDCO had handed over the possession of plots to the traders here. The operational authority of the market is under the joint collaboration of MMRDA and CIDCO. However despite being one of biggest trade markets, the conditions are pathetic here. The internal roads are in a pathetic condition, there are no sewerage lines and there is shortage of electricity. There is only one truck terminal for heavy vehicles. We met with the President of the Bombay Indian Merchants Association Ramdas Shewale; the association where steel traders register complaints to be taken to higher authorities. Ramdas Shewale brought to the fore the pathetic conditions of the steel market. Authorities had promised steel traders that all the infrastructure like roads were to be completed by February 1998. When that did not happen, the traders filed a writ petition in 2007 to get CIDCO to provide the facilities. In June 2008, the court disposed of the petition after the agency promised to provide the facilities. However both MMRDA and CIDCO are dodging the responsibility by passing it on each other. During monsoons the conditions become worse. The toilets here too are in worst condition. Annually, the traders here have to pay Grampanchayat tax, N A tax, CIDCO service tax, MMRDA service tax, transfer tax, toll tax besides this they pay Market Committee tax twice in the year; however in return they are not even availed with basic facilities. At present both authorities are not responding to the grievances of plot owners due to which most of them have made up their mind of moving out of market due to absence of facilities. At the same time the traders have filed a contempt petition against the State Government and both CIDCO and MMRDA – accusing them of not fulfilling promises made to Mumbai High Court about setting up the infrastructure. The High Court is the last ray of hope for aggrieved steel traders of the Kalamboli Steel Market. With cameraperson Abhay Prasad, Shilpa Suryawanshi for NMTV news.

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