After a long battle between the New Delhi Municipal Council and shopkeepers of 15 markets over grant of ownership rights for the shops, the civic body on Wednesday finally passed a resolution retaining the ownership rights with itself. This despite the fact that the NDMC had passed a resolution in 2000 and 2002 resolving to transfer them to the shopkeepers in these markets.

The 15 markets include nine rehabilitation markets comprising Kidwai Nagar Market (South), Kidwai Nagar Market (Central), Netaji Nagar Market, Laxmi Bai Nagar Market, Basurkar Market, Begum Zaidi Market, Nauroji Nagar Market, Prithvi Nagar Market and Pandara Road Market and five markets built on pedestrian right of way. These comprise Janpath, Yusufzai, Panchkuian Road, Babar Road and Baird Lane. In addition, the Lodhi Colony market was also included in the list.

The demand for transfer was first raised in 1968 by the nine rehabilitation markets housing a total of 458 shops. At present, the shops are running on leasehold basis with the NDMC.

The civic body also handed over a letter to the nine rehabilitation market associations in December 2001 conveying the transfer of ownership to them and the Lodhi Colony market. It had done the same for the remaining five markets via a letter dated April 2002. However, NDMC officials are now tight-lipped on the reasons for non-implementation of its earlier decisions to transfer the shops and refuse to divulge any details on the same.

NDMC member Mukesh Bhatt said: “By majority it has been decided to reject the traders' demand for grant of ownership rights to them in these markets as it would mean a huge loss of revenue to the civic body through forgoing of license fee collected from them.”

Lodhi Colony Market Association president Jaswant Rai Grover said: “The letters handed over by the NDMC stated the details of the terms and conditions of the transfer including the rates clearly showing the progress in the case and the intention of the NDMC to transfer the ownership at the earliest. But their latest resolution has dashed our legitimate expectations to zero by reversing its past two resolutions.”

“If the NDMC implements the transfer, it would lose licence fee but gain from the lump-sum payment by allottees and revenue from property tax every year as well as save expenditure on maintenance and upkeep of these markets and also save in terms of time, energy and effort involved in managing licence contracts. Despite all this I cannot understand why they are stating loss of revenue as a reason for the non-transfer,” added Mr. Grover.

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