To tackle the acute financial crisis, Trinamool Congress-controlled Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) authorities have decided to sell vacant spaces in municipal markets.
According to KMC’s market department officials, initially, vacant spaces in two of its markets at Entally and New Alipore have been identified for sale.
“Around 5,382 square feet of space at New Alipore market and 6,600 square feet at Entally market would be sold. We would soon float a tender, inviting expressions of interest from parties,” Tarak Singh, member, mayor-in-council (market) said. Vacant spaces in several municipal markets are in the possession of local goons and political leaders, who collect monthly rent from shop owners by intimidating them.
A section of local Trinamool Congress leaders too were allegedly involved in collecting money. “We are helpless to take any action against these goons due to their political clout, resulting in revenue loss, which might add crores annually to KMC’s kitty,” a senior civic market department official said on condition of anonymity.
“We are expecting to earn not less than R8 crore by selling vacant space in two of our markets. The market value of both New Alipore and Entally is R7,000 per square feet, ”the MMiC added. Both the New Alipore and Entally markets are among the city’s oldest municipal markets.
Despite declaring many portions of municipal markets unsafe, demolition has not taken place due to resistance from local goons with political connections.