Wednesday, February 22, 2006

BMP sitting on a goldmine

BMP sitting on a goldmine
Lackadaisical In Claiming Back Lease-Expired Properties
The Times of India

Bangalore: There’s a goldmine in every nook and cranny of the city scape: acreage of prime property.
Properties which were leased out aeons ago, have zoomed way past their expiry date and are just lying in limbo. The BMP is aware of it. Statistics speak volumes: Of the 410 properties that the BMP has leased out, the lease date of almost a half (181) has expired long ago. And these properties are lying vacant, or are being used other than the purpose they were leased out for, according to documents available with TOI.

Lalitha Srinivasa Gowda, chairperson, taxation and finance committee, BMP, reckons that should these properties be auctioned or put to better use, the BMP could rake in moolah providing that much-needed boost to the civic body’s finances. So, why aren’t these prime properties being taken back? “Cases have not been taken up by the zonal DCs. The assistant revenue officer is supposed to keep a ready list of properties whose lease date has expired.’’

Plugging revenue leakages is then not high on BMP’s priority list. For instance, under the ambitious National Urban Renewal Mission, authorities are eyeing a whopping Rs 10,779 crore for improving city infrastructure alone. But they choose to ignore prime properties each value between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 50 crore. Real estate experts put a steep price on many of the lease-expired properties, most of which are in prime locations, some in the Central Business District, CBD areas of Bangalore. Here’s a dekko at a slice of the pie: 22 properties in Malleswaram, 10 in Sheshadripuram, 8 in Chamarajpet. 9 in Jayanagar, 5 in Koramangala and 4 in Ulsoor. N R Colony alone boasts of properties having dimensions 210 x 90, 50 x70, 60 x 30, 60 x 130.

Here’s a lesson on how these funds could be better utilised: the civic authorities in Hyderabad auctioned a lease-expired property in Jubilee Hills and used the money for an Outer Ring Road. So, why not emulate this, considering that funds shortage are cited as a prime reason for stalling works?

Commissioner Jothiramalingam in a notice to corporators, has acknowledged that there has been a lapse in attending to the problem. He has asked all corporators to submit a list of properties with details of their location and worth.


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