Chandigarh MC turns to DC to recover Rs 25 crore from advt firms
The recovery has become utmost important in the face of the corporation’s acute huge financial crisis that has forced it to stall all development works.punjab Updated: Jun 13, 2018 10:20 IST
After failing to recover licence fee dues piling up to Rs 25 crore from several outdoor advertisement firms, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) has turned to the deputy commissioner (DC) for help.
MC’s move comes as the DC can help all government departments in his jurisdiction in recovering arrears as per the Land Revenue Act. With the officer vest the powers to summon the defaulters, besides attaching their property or ordering their detention if they don’t respond to DC office’s show-cause notices.
The recovery has become utmost important in the face of the corporation’s acute huge financial crisis that has forced it to stall all development works.
When contacted, DC Ajit Balaji Joshi said his office had begun the process as per protocol.
As per MC, the total outstanding amount was Rs 20 crore as of September 30 in 2016. With interest and penalty, the dues have piled up to Rs 25.79 crore in June.
An interest of 18% is being levied on the dues from April 1, 2018, till the time payment is made by the defaulting advertising firms.
One firm owes 84% of the dues
Of the total dues, Selvel Media Services alone owes Rs 21.06 crore. While the firm in the past maintained that the matter of pendency of dues is sub-judice before the Punjab and Haryana high court, MC in the letter to the DC has mentioned that there was not legal hitch with regard to recovery of dues.
The company was given a contract in 2007 for five years for maintaining sanitation of 86 public toilets. But the contract was mired in controversy after allegations of violation of advertising fee and undue favours to the private firm.
A CBI probe pegged the total loss to the tune of Rs 14 crore and charged the then MC executive engineer, RC Diwan, and Selvel Media Services Pvt Ltd director Jimmy Subawalla in October 2016. But later in December, the high court stayed framing of charges against the accused.
Other firms that owe money to MC are Aakriti Enterprise, Hythropower Corporation Limited, Image Advertisement, Mehak Enterprises, Outdoor Communication Pvt Limited, Super Publicity Service and Sulabh International Social Service.
Congress terms move eyewash
Congress leader of opposition in MC Devinder Singh Babla said the move to approach the DC was nothing but eyewash. “In the past too, MC had approached the DC in this regard, but nothing happened. There are people within MC who are saving tainted firms like Selvel that caused huge losses to the MC exchequer,” Babla alleged.
He said, “MC will get its dues in no time if the firm is blacklisted and debarred. But the present BJP leadership is not taking hard decisions.”