The municipal corporation's failure to frame a policy regarding allotment of nearly 240 booths in various parts of Chandigarh in the past decade has caused an apparent loss of over Rs 4 crore.
An audit report for the UT released in October last year had pointed out the loss due to the shops not being leased out since 2004. Then, in November, the MC constructed 40 more booths under the new bridge in Sector 17, which are also vacant. Twelve booths are lying vacant in the Sector 17-22 pedestrian subway, 140 at Mauli Jagran, 26 booths meant for modernised air-conditioned fish market in Sector 41, and the rest in various villages of Chandigarh.
Not only are these premises lying vacant, but their condition is also deteriorating due to non-maintenance. These shops could have been leased out to the general public by the way of publicity advertisement in the newspaper and through internet, the report said. The loss is calculated primarily taking into account the potential rates and rents.
As for the 26 booths meant for the AC fish market in Sector 41, after failing to find takers in an auction held in 2009 the civic body has failed to decide on the allotment of booths - whether to give them out on rental basis or hold an auction again. However, when contacted, MC joint commissioner Rajeev Gupta said, "There is no proper policy for the allotment. But as far as the new booths under the Sector-17 bridge are concerned, we will auction them, as the Supreme Court in a ruling recently has stated that, to dispose of any property, auction is the best way. But before that, we will have to take permission from the UT administration."
Congress councillor and former mayor Pardeep Chhabra commented, "It is due to the lackadaisical attitude of MC officials that even after one decade they have failed to frame a policy, despite the issue having been raised in the House several times."