UP refuses to pay Rs 1 lakh a month rent for Ghaziabad mayor’s official residence
Responding to a sanction sought by the Ghaziabad municipal corporation (GMC) for paying the monthly rent towards an office-cum-residence for the mayor, the Uttar Pradesh administration wrote back saying there was no such provision the demand and added that paying “such a high rent” would not be feasible for the corporation.
“There is no legal provision for payment of monthly rent of ₹1,00,664 by the corporation for mayor’s residence. Such a costly residence is not feasible,” a written communication from Kalyan Banerjee, UP’s deputy secretary, said.
The development comes after Mayor Asha Sharma moved into a bungalow in an upscale locality of Sector 5, Raj Nagar in September last year. The ₹1lakh rental facility has since served as her camp office and residence.
In June last year, the GMC board had cleared a proposal in which it approved a separate camp office-and-residence for the mayor. After this, municipal commissioner Dinesh Chandra had sought directions from the state administration. In September, the mayor shifted to a bungalow with six bedrooms, two drawing rooms, six bathrooms, two kitchens on ground floor and on the first floor. The facility was proposed for the mayor during the board meeting for serving as her “camp office” to meet the public. A rent agreement for the facility was also signed between GMC’s additional municipal commissioner Pramod Kumar and the bungalow owner in September 2019.
“We have received directions from the state administration that rent for Mayor’s camp office/residence cannot be paid by the corporation. On Thursday, we sent a letter to the Mayor about GMC’s inability to pay in wake of the communication received from state officials. The lease agreement will also be cancelled in coming time,” municipal commissioner Dinesh Chandra said.
Mayor Asha Sharma, however, said she would personally bear the cost of the rented house. “The corporation has not paid any money towards the rent of my camp office. Since the rent agreement is for 11 months and I shifted about four months ago, I will bear the cost of the monthly rent. It is also because my personal residence in Kavi Nagar is being rebuilt and it will take time for the reconstruction to get completed,” Sharma said.
“Getting a separate facility was not my call. Several councillors had raised the proposal in the board meeting in June last year. There were several others who opposed the proposal. So, I will continue at the facility for at least 11 months as part of the agreement and will pay the rent and maintenance charges on my own,” she said.