BDA complexes turn white elephants

Govt agencies owe huge rental dues to civic body

BDA complexes turn white elephants

The commercial complexes belonging to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) have transformed into a loss-making avenue for the civic agency in the last four financial years.

They were meant to house ‘essential’ shops and services and generate revenue for the Authority.

According to Right to Information (RTI) documents in possession of Deccan Herald, for the single financial year of 2012-13 (till August 2012), the BDA is ‘bleeding’ to the tune of Rs 15.29 crore due to under recovery of rent or licence fee. Reason: Almost all government agencies housed in the commercial complexes owe the BDA crores of rupees.    

BDA Commissioner T Sham Bhat told Deccan Herald that government bodies which have their offices in their commercial complexes are the prime reason for the deficit in revenue collection.

“For instance, crores of rupees is pending from the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) offices, the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) and the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT),” he said.

According to Bhat, BDA has been sending reminders to the government agencies to pay the dues, but to no avail.

“As these are government departments, we gave them ample opportunity before serving notices, but there has been no progress. Nonetheless, we will recover the money. It should not be a problem,” he said.

Since 2009-10, rental dues have been increasing by over Rs one crore a year. The BDA has rented out 774 shops across its 15 commercial complexes.

The highest amount of rental dues is in the upmarket East division of BDA, which includes commercial complexes in Indiranagar, Koramangala, Austin Town, Domlur and HSR Layout.

Meanwhile, serious allegations have been levelled against BDA for ‘inflating’ the costs for the renovation of the Malleswaram market.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between BDA and BBMP, the Malleswaram market was handed over to BDA for renovation, along with three other markets. The costs for the renovation have increased from Rs 76.30 crore, as per the BBMP detailed project report, to Rs 132 crore as per BDA estimates.

RTI activist B M Shivakumar said that the BDA was making these futile expenditures by raising loans from financial institutions at an interest rate of 14 per cent annually.

“While on the one hand, BDA has failed to recover the dues from its commercial complexes, on the other, they are spending money for the renovation of a market at a higher cost than the original estimate. What is the justification,” he questioned.

Reacting to the allegations, Sham Bhat said that the project was undertaken by BDA during the time of his predecessors and that he was not aware of the reasons for the ‘inflated’ estimates.

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