AAP calls out ‘BMC-neta nexus’ on Aarey stall scam, questions purpose of having the stalls when there are no Aarey products to sell

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has alleged corruption in the allotment and running of Aarey milk stalls in Mumbai.

“It is an open secret that Aarey stalls are controlled by local politicians in cahoots with the BMC, with the stalls being sublet to other people. There is collusion among the powers that be and hence there is no action on this. Since the Aarey stalls don’t serve the purpose they were allotted for, they need to be dismantled and the footpaths need to be reclaimed for pedestrians. Those running Aarey stalls, however, should be rehabilitated,” said Preeti Sharma Menon, AAP Mumbai chief.

“Since Aarey has stopped production, there are no Aarey products in the stalls. These stalls offer all kinds of things ranging from gutkha, and snacks to fast food.

So the natural question is, ‘why then are these stalls allowed to function?’,” said Ruben Mascarenhas, AAP Mumbai working president.

Notably, Aarey stalls started selling other Aarey products along with milk in the early ’60s. But over time, the milk management department of the government could not manage and market these products effectively and the market share of Aarey’s products began to decline. On the other hand, organisations like Amul were performing very well. The demand for Amul products started to increase and Aarey’s products could not be sustained.

“We filed an RTI on behalf of the AAP to enquire how many Aarey stalls are there across all the wards in Mumbai. From the RTI reply, we learned that all Aarey stalls were initially in residential areas but, over time, they were shifted to localities in the vicinity of railway stations and main roads. How and who gave this permission is a mystery. But it is clear that this cannot happen without the involvement of local BMC authorities and the political class,” Menon said.

“Some stall owners later converted the stalls into restaurants, and fast food centres, while others started selling mobile accessories, pan, gutkha, and tobacco. In the RTI reply, we also found that the number of fake stalls is twice as much as the stalls allotted on paper,” she added.

“These illegal stalls have been operating in Mumbai for years now. Running an illegal stall without the permission of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is not the job of an aam aadmi. It is clear from this that this scam was started with the connivance and collusion of BMC officials and local political leaders. It is clear that they have derived illegal benefits from the arrangement. We are also given to understand that the monthly rent from an average Aarey stall can be as high as Rs 2,00,000 per month, which is directly pocketed by local netas and BMC officials,” said Gopal Jhaveri, vice-president of AAP Mumbai.



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