Monday, September 25, 2006

Ceremonies legal, venue illegal

Ceremonies legal, venue illegal
Vijay Times

Guess how many choultries in the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) South Zone are unauthorised? Hold your breath! Its a whopping 76 per cent! According to information made available to V Bhaskar, president of the Nivarane Trust under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the BMP Heath Officer (South) has said that of the 192 choultries in South Zone, where ceremonies such as marriages, thread ceremonies and other receptions are held, only 46 are authorised.

The revelation, besides surprising, is also costing BMP coffers dear.

B R Nanjundappa, opposition leader in the BMP council, said, though the owners of the choultries are collecting huge sums of money for letting out their premises for various programmes and functions, organisers have been evading taxes. "Such evasion of tax payment has been thriving right under the nose of BMP officials," he said. Some corporators also pressurise officials not to seal such choultries, he added.

The BMP incurs huge losses due to unauthorised choultries run in the City. As per rule, a separate rent is in place for choultries run in industrial, commercial and residential areas.

If proper action is initiated, BMP can increase its revenue by at least Rs 200 crore. "Even the basements, which are earmarked for parking, are used as dining halls and are a blatant violation of rules,” Nanjundappa said.

The BMP has failed to initiate appropriate action on such choultries which are evading taxes and also not paid licence fees.

That is not all. A few choultries in the City have violated BMP building by-laws too.

Unauthorised choultries are a serious danger to safety, given the high rate of accidents at such places. The owners of unauthorised choultries obviously do not obtain the no objection certificates from the police, fire brigade and pollution control departments. This means that safety mechanisms may not be in place at all.

It may be recalled that former BMP Commissioner K Jothiramalingam had said unauthorised choultries will be shut. Orders had also been placed for purchasing locks, he had said.

BMP Commissioner K Jairaj agreed that unauthorised choulties continue to flourish and assured that action will be initiated as per rules.


Post a Comment

<< Home