A FORTNIGHT after it handed over parking lots to a private contractor, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) is now planning a divestment of commercial properties to raise some much needed cash.
The civic body is learnt to have decided to sell off unoccupied shops in IMC-owned markets to a single buyer. Tenders inviting bids from interested parties were floated recently and the corporation hopes to net between Rs 15-20 crore by selling the shops.
“The buyer will acquire all the shops at one go and can then sell these at their leisure”, said Mayor-in-Council member in charge of Public Works, Lalit Porwal.
He also forswore building of commercial complexes by the IMC in the future. “Experience has taught us that constructing markets is a proposition that leads to heavy losses. The IMC, therefore, will no longer build markets but have these constructed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis”, declared Porwal.
Nearly 100 shops in IMC-owned markets at Maharaja Complex, Palika Plaza, Meghdoot Upvan Shivaji Vatika and Jyotiba Phule Sabzi Mandi (Nandlalpura) have been lying vacant for years.
While the last named has been acquired by the market department to start a Mahila Market, repeated attempts to pawn off the remaining have come to grief.
More than 50 shops are lying vacant in Maharaja Complex alone while another 20-odd in Palika Plaza are yet to find any takers. This, even though, all the markets are located at prime locations. The reasons are not far to seek: an unwillingness to purchase property in “white” money and an abysmal lack of sewage, drainage and other facilities. Despairing of ever selling the vacant shops on a piecemeal basis, the civic body officials hit upon the idea of selling the entire lot to one buyer.
As a Public Works Department official points out, “Most people shy away from buying IMC-owned shops as they are required to pay the entire amount in white. Once they pass into private hands people will be able to buy the shops by paying only a portion of the total amount in declared income. The rest would be passed under the table, as is the standard practice”, he added.
It may be recalled that Secretary, Urban Administration Development (UAD), Sewaram, had lambasted IMC officials for getting too involved in building tasks and directed them to concentrate on the corporation’s basic brief — water supply, sanitation and drainage/sewerage.