South Corpn asks for its share in Civic Centre

Says North civic body only enjoys administrative control

The tug of war between the North and South Delhi Municipal Corporations over the ownership of Civic Centre, the headquarter of the unified municipal corporation, is getting murkier with each passing day.

With the North Corporation demanding property tax from South Corporation against the use of premises at the 28-storey building, the South Corporation has now questioned the very ownership claims of North Corporation over it.

The South Corporation argued that “they are equal owner in respect of the Civic Centre and therefore share of both the corporations in the building must be demarcated”.

In a written reply to the North Corporation, the SDMC has advised it to settle the share of property in the building first before demanding property tax or rent from it.
Assessor and Collector of South Corporation, B N Singh, told his counterpart that the North Corporation was not the property’s owner and was just given the administrative control of the building.

“As far as the ownership of this building is concerned, there is little doubt that the ownership of the Civic Centre stands in the name of erswhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi,” said Singh. 

“Before the actual trifurcation, a committee headed by the Janak Diggal was constituted by the then commissioner to give recommendation on the allocation of floors to North Corporation and South Corporation. The committee recommended that North Corporation would be in the administrative control of the building,” added Singh.
The letter quotes tcommittee’s recommendation which was formed to look into the trifurcation. 

“Since the Civic Centre falls under the jurisdiction of North Corporation, the administrative control will remain with it. The civic agency will also look after the day-to-day maintenance and other aspects of the building. It may claim maintenance charges from the South Corporation as to be decided by the director (local bodies),” the letter says.

He said secretary of Union urban devlopment ministry had approved the recommendations of the committee.

“The fact is that the issue of ownership was neither discussed by the committee not at the UD ministry level,” said Singh.

The ownership issue has been the bone of contention between the two corporations for quite some time despite the fact that all the three corporations are ruled by the BJP.

After trifurcation, the North Corporation has been claiming its ownership over the property arguing that they are the legal owners of all the properties under its jurisdiction, and therefore they could levy tax or seek rent from occupants.

Announcing the next financial year budget proposals, it had demanded a sum of Rs 62.5 crore from its South counterpart for the space occupied by it at the building for the current fiscal.

The corporation has incorporated the rent amount in its revenue component for the current fiscal.

It has also made its claims over the entire Rs 600 crore that the income tax department is due to pay to the municipal bodies for the portion of property at Civic Centre leased out to the department.   

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