Right To information (RTI) activist RK Garg, in a communiqué to the UT Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev, has pointed out irregularities in the working of Rock Garden demanding high-level inquiry into the matter.
Garg has demanded that a high-level enquiry and special audit by auditor general (AG), Punjab, should be ordered to find out the real working of Rock Garden.
After the special audit report, if found appropriate Rock Garden Society may be merged with tourism or any other department of UT administration within the present set up, so that entire funds are deposited in government account, and become subject to accountability and audit.
As per the information, Rock Garden is being managed by a society under the chairmanship of UT home secretary and Nek Chand is its life president.
Garg has pointed out that as per information procured under the RTI, in the past three years different discrepancies have been found in the working of Rock Garden.
Rock Garden Society is a private body duly registered with registrar of societies, Chandigarh, and is not a government property. The MC should charge property tax from Rock Garden as is done in the case of other private buildings. The garden has its own parking area, and the revenue generated from the parking goes to the society. But, as the land belongs to the MC, the income should go to the MC. The society even rents out its ground for private functions and earns huge income from it.
From the income tax returns filed and balance sheets supplied, it has been observed that Rock Garden Society has not paid any income tax on its income like ground rent, parking area income and interest income from fixed deposits. Even for a few years, the income tax returns have been filed under the wrong head, which makes Rock Garden Society liable to pay taxes, including income tax.
Garg has pointed out that even after RTI appeal, executive engineer-cum-CPIO (central public information officer) has not supplied the balance sheet for the year 2013-14 and income tax exemption certificate.
RK Garg has also highlighted that Rock Garden Society in 2011 raised the rates of entry tickets from Rs 10 to Rs 15 per adult and printed 12 lakh tickets in denomination of Rs 15, but within a year the society decided to raise the entry ticket rates to Rs 20, saying that public was facing difficulty in arranging Rs 5 coin/currency. This is one example how decisions are taken in Rock Garden Society.