Team Anna to move court against ground charges

December 21st, 2011 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Anna Hazare Mumbai, Dec 21 (IANS) Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption (IAC) group said it will move court Thursday against the Rs.3.77 lakh daily rental demanded by city authorities for allowing it to protest at MMRDA grounds from Dec 27.

“IAC has appealed to (Chief Minister) Prithviraj Chavan to waive or reduce the charges at MMRDA grounds. If that is not done, we have secured Azad Maidan for the agitation,” IAC volunteer Piyush Bhatia said.

“Meanwhile, we will also move court tomorrow to secure our right to protest,” he added.

IAC has received permission for two sites in the city — Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) grounds in central Mumbai and Azad Maidan.

While organisations can hold protests in south Mumbai’s Azad Maidan free of charge, IAC says it cannot accommodate the kind of crowds it is expecting.

“Azad Maidan cannot hold more than 5,000 people. We are expecting over a lakh agitators to come in support of Annaji everyday,” Bhatia said.

Bhatia said even Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi has a token charge of only Rs.5,000 a day.

“Earlier, MMRDA had charged Rs.2 lakh per day, but according to officials, that was the charge for NGOs. We have secured the ground through our NGO Janhit Manch but are yet to receive our certificate, and hence we have to pay commercial charges for the ground,” Bhatia said.

The cost of using the ground for three days of the agitation and for one day each before and after for the protest comes to Rs.10.26 lakh.

“With service tax, it is Rs.11,31,678 lakh. The MMRDA has also sought a deposit of Rs.7.7 lakh for the ground.

“Annaji has said that he is not ready to be party to this cost since it is a public protest for and by the citizens,” Bhatia said.

Hazare has announced he will fast for three days from Dec 27 to demand a strong Lokpal bill.

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