Lease over, MC fails to collect rent

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Amritsar, September 13

The lease term of 90 per cent of the properties of the Municipal Corporation (MC) is over, but the civic body has not made any effort to get these buildings vacated. It is not collecting any rent from most of the buildings leased out.

According to the information gathered from the MC office, 174 properties (spread over1.28 lakh sq yard area) are leased out to other departments, such as schools and social organisations. These are worth crores of rupees because almost all properties are located in prime locations.

As the lease term of most of the properties is over, the MC can’t collect the rent, which is too minimal. Punjab Roadway took the ISBT ground on lease from the MC. They are paying only a little money as rent but sublet the shops to private shopkeepers at a hefty price. Similarly, schools located on the MC land have been paying Rs 60 or Rs 90 as annual rent, but shops have been sublet to private firms for thousands of rupees.

A local AAP MC councillor raised the issue and demanded collection of rent from Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to increase the revenue of the civic body. MC councillor Surinder Singh Sultanwind said the MC should get the buildings vacated whose lease is over. If the buildings can’t be vacated, then the rent should be collected, according to the government rates. “If the MC collect 5 per cent rent of theses properties, it will come out of the financial crisis it has been reeling under,” he added. MC estate officer Jaswinder Singh said, “The government has issued a letter for preparation of a list of such properties.”

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