The Public Accounts Committee that undertook audit scrutiny of selected schools, petrol pumps and presses in the city has reported significant breaches in their lease conditions, unauthorised constructions, overdue ground rent, encroachment and misuse.
The audit report that was tabled in Parliament by the PAC this past week claims that despite the irregularities that came to light no action has been taken by Land and Development Office (L&DO) and the conduct of regular inspections of leased properties by the department itself was very poor.
In its report, the PAC said the Urban Development Ministry in its reply said inspection of the premises was under progress and so far in the cases of schools, petrol pumps and presses, the breaches of the lease conditions have been found in all the presses, petro pumps and 29 of the 30 schools that have so far been inspected.
“All the oil public sector undertakings have been asked to remedy the breaches. After remedy the recovery of dues will be initiated. All the schools concerned have been communicated the breaches with a condition to remedy the breaches within 30 days or get them regualrised, failing which action under the lease is to be taken,” the Ministry replied.
The Ministry also informed the PAC that a committee was constituted to examine the various issues of inspections, breaches and regualrisation in the case of presses, with a view to suggest a realistic policy framework that will encourage compliance. The committee report that was submitted in 2009 is under consideration for a decision, the PAC was informed.
On what system has been put in place to detect breach of lease conditions, the Ministry said: “For detecting breaches inspection of the premises is mandatory. As per existing orders, inspection is generally to be carried out once in a period of three years. However, in all the cases of conversions, it has been mandatory to inspect the properties if the same has not been inspected during the last one year from the date of submission of the application.”
The Ministry has also informed the PAC that when breaches are noticed, action is taken against the offenders. “In the cases where the lessees agree for payment of dues required for temporary regualrisation of breaches, damages charges and misuse charges are levied and recovered. If the breaches continue beyond the time prescribed, action for cancellation of lease is taken. In other cases where the lessees do not agree to remedy the breaches and pay the charges against the breaches, the action is taken to cancel the lease after final opportunity in the form of final show-cause notice,” the Ministry told the PAC.
Keywords: Urban Development Ministry