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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

UT fails to give possession of space to entrepreneurs at EDC

Vinod Kumar , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, February 16, 2013
First Published: 14:23 IST(16/2/2013) | Last Updated: 14:26 IST(16/2/2013)

The UT administration has failed to give possession of space to entrepreneurs in its much-talked about initiative -entrepreneur development centre (EDC) - even after the lapse of one month since it had opened bids for the allocation of space on January 9.

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The delay has raised apprehension among the successful bidders, who fear that the process might be called off midway like in the past due to alleged red-tapism.

The entrepreneurs have a reason to worry as the administration, twice in the past, undertook the process of allocating space in EDC, but failed to do so on both occasions. In 2009, for allotment of space, the authorities in association with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) had organised "Business Plan Competition". The shortlisted applicants were invited, but were not allotted the promised space. Similarly, in 2011, applications were again invited, but the process was called off midway.

While spelling out reasons for delay, sources said the IT department was forced to take legal opinion after the UT estate office raised objection that the IT department did not have powers to allocate space on its own and the task of allocation could only be done by the estate office. However, in its reply, the legal cell stated that the IT department had powers to allot the space in the centre.

When contacted, UT secretary information technology Prerna Puri claimed that the process of allocation of space would be completed very soon.

The office space available at EDC comprises 19 bays covering around 20,189 sq feet. Out of 19 bays, 11 are fully furnished and are reserved for young entrepreneurs (YE) while eight unfurnished bays have been earmarked for small and medium enterprises (SME). Equipped with plug-and-play facilities, bays meant for young entrepreneurs attracted 10 entrepreneurs while there were no takers for eight bays reserved for SME in the bid.

The reserve licence fee for young entrepreneurs was fixed at Rs. 25 per sq feet per month and Rs. 50 per sq per month for small and medium enterprises.

The four-storey centre built at the cost of Rs. 18 crore was inaugurated by the then UT administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (retd) in November 2009. Of the total expenditure incurred, the administration had invested Rs. 9 crore, while the rest was borne by the union government under the assistance to states for developing export infrastructure and allied activities scheme.

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