Not renting 14 shops costs MC Rs 3 crore

  • Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2014 10:20 IST

Ignoring leasing of 14 shops at three locations across the city since 2004 has caused a loss of Rs 3 crore to the municipal corporation (MC).

Though the civic body is aware of the losses, reported last year in the audit report of accountant general, it has surprisingly made no efforts to lease out the shops.

Of the 14 shops, eight are situated in the subway on the Sector 17-22 dividing road, four at Buterla village and two at Badheri village.

Not only are the shops lying vacant for the past eight years, their condition has also deteriorated due to lack of maintenance.

These shops could have been leased out to the public through advertisements in newspapers or Internet, the audit report said.

That’s not all. A total of 26 booths at the air-conditioned fish market in Sector 41 are also lying vacant for the past three years, causing huge loss to the corporation. After a failed auction in 2009, the civic body has till date yet to decide whether to allot the booths on rental basis or hold another auction.

The issue has been raised and debated in several House meetings where councillors suggested that the shops in the subway should be given to vendor to provide affordable food.

When contacted, MC additional commissioner Sunil Bhatia said they would soon decide on whether to allot the shops through auction or give them on lease.

Deputy mayor Davesh Moudgil said despite imposing house tax last year, the civic body, was unable to fill its coffers.

“I have recommended in House meetings to set up a foot street at the subway to help generate income. But in vain,” he added.

Incidentally, in the past three years, there has been a tremendous dip in MC’s income. While its income in 2011-12 was `80 crore, it dipped to Rs 75 crore 2012-13 and further slid to `50 crore in 2013-14.

The councillors have blamed the MC officials for the decline in income, stating that they only issued notices, but never recovered the amount or followed it up.

MC also failed to gather expected revenue from auction of parking lots, as in the past two years, the contractors allegedly formed a cartel to keep bids for lots low, they said.

MC, which was aiming to collect Rs 76 lakh from house tax imposed last year, was able to collect only Rs 23 lakh. The main source of income of MC are property tax, paid parking, rent from cable operators, taxi stands, community centres, auction of seized articles, festival charges, rickshaw licence fee, rent from night food streets, subway shops, eating joints and liquor vends.

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