Bringing sheer negligence of its officials to the fore, the UT estate office has invited the flak of the audit department for failing to recover dues to the tune of over Rs 5 crore.
Dues from charitable societies pending
The estate office has failed to recover Rs 2.50 crore in the form of ground rent and interest from various charitable societies. During the scrutiny of records for the year 2013-14, it was found that three societies to which land had been allotted were not paying the due installments in time, as a result of which interest on ground rent accumulated.
One such society, Anjuman-e-Falahull-Awam, was allotted land measuring 600 square yards in Sector 31 for a mosque in 2004 at the rate of Rs 5,800 per square yard with a total premium calculated at Rs 34.80 lakh.
As per the agreement, the society was to pay ground rent annually at a fixed rate of Rs 87,000 for 33 years.
The records reveal that an amount of Rs 45.75 lakh — 4.6 lakh as ground rent and 41.12 lakh as interest on ground rent — was due from the society. The estate office has also failed to recover Rs 50.59 lakh from Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Sector 46, which was allotted land measuring 1,000 square yard in 1998.
Similarly, Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Bhawan Society owes the estate office Rs 1.52 crore on account of ground rent and interest. The society was allotted 1,296 square yard land in Sector 44.
Lease money from booth owners
During the scrutiny of records, it was found that the estate office has failed to recover ground rent to the tune of Rs 1.51 crore from around 20 booths in different markets of the city. As per the laid down norms, if the installment of premium is not paid by a lessee by the due date, a notice may be served on the lessee calling upon him to pay the installment within a period of three months with a penalty which may extend up to 10% of the due amount. If the payment is not made within the stipulated period, the estate officer can cancel the lease.
Conversion fee installments
The scheme called ‘Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity/Services in Industrial Area Phase I & II Chandigarh,’ was launched in 2005.
The administration initially charged Rs 20,000 per square yard as conversion fee, which was enhanced to Rs 29,713 per square yard for those whose applications were received on or after December 18, 2007. Before that, 75 industrialists had availed of the scheme on the old rate by paying 10% earnest money and balance in the form of post-dated cheques.
As per the audit report, the estate office did not issue any letter immediately to four applicants for depositing the amount of installments due from them.
The total amount that could have been realised on account of conversion fee is Rs 2.6 crore. The realised amount when deposited into treasury could have earned interest to the tune of Rs 62.63 lakh at the rate of 8.5%.