WHEN IT comes to the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC), the left hand seldom knows what the right hand is doing. Take the case of the controversial Treasure Island mall-cum-multiplex.
The IMC revenue department says mall promoters have exceeded built-up area limits by 1,45,612 square feet. But Building Permission officials peg the figure a little over 3,700 square feet.
The discrepancy came to the fore when deputy municipal commissioner Lata Aggarwal ordered an on-site examination of the structure following allegations that mall promoters were fudging figures to withhold property tax payments.
After surveying the swanky structure, the IMC team declared that although the total area covered by mall promoters Entertainment World Developers Private Limited (EWDPL) stood at 3,50,197 sq ft they were paying taxes for only 2,04,585 sq ft — a difference of nearly 1.5 lakh square feet.
Aggarwal even served a notice to EWDPL demanding that it shell out Rs 23 lakh in tax arrears within a fortnight. Interestingly, the deputy municipal’s commissioner’s findings are in stark contrast to a survey by the Shri Govindram Sakseria Institute of Technological Sciences (SGITS) officials that was commissioned by the IMC Building Permission department. That survey declared that mall promoters were only guilty of exceeding the allotted area by 3,700 square feet.
To further confuse the issue, pre-construction claims by the promoters declared that the structure would boast a total of 6.50 lakh square feet of which 1.75 lakh square feet would be reserved for parking.
In a letter dated June 21, 2006 (HT has a copy), EWDPL managing director Manish Kalani informed potential investors that Treasure Island would boast of 4.75 lakh square feet usable area comprising, “2.90 lakh of retail space on five levels, 50,000 sq ft at the multiplex with another 70,000 sq ft taken up by food courts, restaurants and an entertainment zone.”
So which of these three figures are correct? “The revenue department perhaps included parking, lobby and other areas exempted from built-up area calculations leading to the confusion,” city engineer (Building Permission) Harbhajan Singh said.
Deputy municipal commissioner Lata Aggarwal, however, is quite clear that only “areas on which property tax is liable to be paid were included in the survey. Our sole purpose was to determine exact property tax to be paid by the promoter so there is no question of including non-taxable areas in the survey,” she declared firmly.
Attempts to contact Manish Kalani over the phone to obtain his version of events proved fruitless. “If you want to talk about this, take an appointment and come to my office tomorrow,” Kalani said when contacted over the phone.