As many as 10 years after getting possession of booths in various parts of the city, the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) has finally woken up from its slumber as it is in the process of framing a policy for the allotment of those booths that are lying vacant.
In the MC meeting scheduled on June 23, the agenda pertaining to framing of policy for disposal of 112 booths at Mauli Jagran and 40 booths under the newly built overbridge in Sector 17 will be discussed.
In more than a decade, nearly 300 booths are lying vacant in various parts of the city and the civic body has suffered a loss of around Rs 7 crore due to the non-allotment of these booths.
The issue was discussed at the MC House several times and MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh also constituted a committee in August last year to frame a policy for the booth allotment, but to no avail.
Even in the audit report of the accountant general that was released recently, it was stated that the civic body did not make efforts to lease out the booths. The condition of these booths has deteriorated over the years. The shops could have been leased out through advertisements in newspapers or Internet, the report had stated.
MC councillors had even suggested that the shops in Sector 17-22 subway should be given to vendors for setting up food stalls, but nothing has been done so far. Even 26 booths at the air-conditioned fish market in Sector 41 are lying vacant for the past three years. Many shops at Badheri and Buterla villages have been lying vacant since last 10 years.
In November 2013, the civic body constructed 40 booths under the newly built overbridge in Sector 17. But, the civic body is now planning to dispose them of. The MC is yet to come up with a food street in a southern sector of the city though a cluster of six food stalls was inaugurated in Sector 48 a year back in the absence of a policy.
The MC's earnings have also dipped from the target of Rs 70 crore to Rs 49 crore this fiscal. There are several reasons for the poor earnings of the civic body, which earned Rs 92 crore in 2013-14, more than its target and non-allotment of booths is one of them, say sources.
On being asked, UT mayor Poonam Sharma said, “We are hopeful of framing the policy regarding the booth allotment issue within two months.”