Himachal Pradesh governor Urmila Singh while taking cognisance of the complaint filed by NGO Mandi Bachao Sangharsh Morcha (MBSM) issued orders to the director of Urban Development, Shimla, to inquire into the allegations and inform her office as well as the complainant.
MBSM president Lakshmender Guleria alleged in his complaint that Mandi Municipal Council (MMC) rented out places for shops on nominal rents on the recommendations of high profile politicians. MMC deliberately avoided 25% reservation roster, he alleged.
"MMC built shops to provide livelihood to the unemployed youth, people below poverty line, war widows etc., and also for commercial purposes. But, the state government had issued a notification in1972 and ordered all local urban bodies to provide 25% shops to the needy and deprived section of the society. But the MMC allotted these shops to well-to-do businessmen, in violation of government guidelines," alleged Guleria.
Guleria said the MMC had allotted more than 450 shops in the town area. Information gained through Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that the civic body allotted shops to former presidents, vice-presidents and councilor's relatives, instead of allotting 25% shops to the needy between 1993 and 2010.
"Shops were allotted despite the fact that all of them came from rich financial backgrounds. The shops were actually built to provide employment to youth and those who had been removed from 'khokhas' in 1993 and 1998. The MC promised to construct shops for them in future," said Guleria.
"As many as 18 such removed 'Khokha' owners from Old Sunkan Market are waiting for shops till date and doing business on reharis (wooden cart)."
He also held that those to whom the shops were allotted managed to get it allotted either in their name or their nominated kins. He pointed out that it was a violation of section 13 (A) of the Anti-Corruption Act.
Guleria said he had sought cancellation of these allotments, and asked for registration of FIR against the MMC office bearers and councillors who passed the resolution to sanction the allotment in the general house meetings of MMC in the past.
He said he would move the high court if the government and urban development department failed to file cases and cancel the allotments.