Strange but true, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation does not have any record of its properties in city.
The matter has come to light after BJP councillor Satinder Singh sought a reply from the MC about amount spent on construction of its shops, booths and showrooms; and the year of construction and completion. Besides, information on the departments looking after the properties, most of them in rural areas, was also sought.
Interestingly, even though the MC’s estate branch should have this information readily available, the branch in its reply to Singh stated that they had written to the engineering department several times, but had not got any reply till date.
The branch only replied that there were 262 booths lying vacant in various parts of the city and they would soon formulate a policy on their allotment. Significantly, some of these booths were constructed over a decade ago.
The issue is now set to come up for discussion in the House meeting on March 31.
A senior official told HT that they were helpless as most of the properties were constructed in the late 90’s, and as such they did not any have revenue record of the properties.
Former mayor Subhash Chawla said, “I have raised the issue several times, but the officials did not pay any heed. Properties worth crores are lying abandoned, but civic body is not serious at all.”
Questioning the MC on framing a policy for booth allotment, Chawla asked why the corporation couldn’t frame a policy before the booths were constructed.
Civic body may auction vacant shops in Sector 17-22 subway
After suffering a loss of `5 crore due to the 14 booths lying vacant in the subway between Sector 17 bus stand and Sector 22 for over 10 years, the civic body now plans to auction the booths.
A final decision on the matter will be taken in the House meeting on March 31.
UT administration had transferred the shops to the MC in 1997 to allow it to earn income. The shops were leased out on a monthly basis for five years, but the tenants did not pay the increased rent, and ultimately some of them either surrendered the shops or vacated them.
In the House meeting, it will be decided whether to lease out the shops for 99 years through an auction; to sell the shops on freehold basis through an auction; or rent them out the shops on a licence basis. MC councillors have in the past even suggested that the shops should be given to vendors for setting up food stalls, but nothing has been done so far.