Saturday, July 24, 2010

How BBMP loses Rs500 cr annually

How BBMP loses Rs500 cr annually

Expired property leases are hurting civic agency's coffers. Clueless Palike struggles to get money back from owners

BK Lakshmikantha. Bangalore
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is losing a whopping Rs500 crore annually because the lease periods of more than half of its properties have expired years ago. The civic agency is now struggling to get the money back. The worst part: The owners continue to occupy the property without paying BBMP.
Of the 415 properties of the BBMP that have been leased out (some since 1924), the lease period of 245 have expired, DNA learnt from the statistics provided by a senior BBMP official. The official attributed the losses to negligence on part of several of his colleagues in the past on effectively monitoring the leases that have expired.
Sources in the BBMP said the lease owners continued using the properties without paying a dime to the civic body which appears quite helpless as at least 150 lease owners have approached courts to acquire stay orders on eviction by the BBMP.
In several cases, the properties were leased for purposes like running schools, colleges and hospitals.
Unfortunately for the BBMP, recovering even a single leased property is a cumbersome task.
BBMP deputy commissioner (Estates) Abdul Qayyum, said: "The BBMP cannot just order eviction of the lease owners of the properties after the lease period is completed. As per the Karnataka Public Premises (KPP) Act, the zonal joint commissioner should send a notice for the renewal of the lease period before it expires. If there is no response from the party (lease owners), the information should be communicated to the chief secretary who has to give his consent for eviction. After receiving the letter (of consent), BBMP should send the eviction notice to the lease owner, followed by an eviction order by giving one month's time to vacate."
However, the BBMP legal cell chief, KG Hosur, said though the BBMP can evict, the lease owners approach courts in appeal for a stay, and the issue goes into time-consuming legalities, without any revenue coming from these properties.
BBMP Mayor SK Nataraj said he has formed a five-member committee, headed by Byrasandra corporator N Nagaraj, to make a list of leased-out properties based on revenue department documents. "We will soon take action against the culprits who have caused the BBMP losses over the years," he said.

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