Revenue section will handle bookings, allocation, and rent collection

Mangalore City Corporation has adopted a policy with guidelines on managing public grounds in its jurisdiction.

The policy has been adopted following a direction from the Karnataka High Court in 2009. While hearing a writ petition, the High Court had directed the corporation to frame guidelines on granting permission to use any public ground.

When the draft policy was tabled on January 31, 2011 meeting of the council, it was referred to the Standing Committee for Taxation, Finance and Appeals for scrutiny and revision. The revised policy was approved by the council on June 30, 2011 meeting. The council ratified the approval in its meeting on July 22 . With this, the policy was in place now, Sudhir Shetty Kannur, whip in the council, told The Hindu.

The policy has listed out 12 guidelines.

According to it, public grounds could be booked only two months in advance. In case, there were many bookings for a given day, priority should be given to the first applicant. The policy has laid a rider here for choosing the first applicant. According to it, if any organisation was conducting its programmes on a particular ground continuously for three years, priority should be given to it while booking the particular ground. For other applicants, the corporation should give acknowledgements either rejecting their applications or suggesting them other dates.

It said the corporation could either have a prescribed format of an application for bookings, clearly specifying the date and time when a particular ground was needed.

If not, it should ensure that application filed by applicants on their own clearly specified them. If applications lacked them, the officials should reject them on the spot and issue acknowledgements to them. Such applicants should not be held over. It said that engineering wing should arrange for drinking water and toilet facilities in identified ground and maintain the ground. Health section should maintain toilets. Revenue section would look into bookings, their allocation, and collecting rent.

The policy said that engineering wing should fence the ground owned by it and display boards to make people know that they were corporation property. It should appoint a security person for each ground and he or she should have the entry key. The policy stated that the revenue section should maintain the land records by obtaining the records from departments concerned. Its boundaries should be marked in cooperation with the Town Planning officer and the executive engineer.

It said that during elections the ground could be rented out by imposing restrictions to ensure that the codes of conduct of elections were not violated.

The policy said no organisations could construct its permanent office, sheds or any other structures on public grounds. Permission for using grounds should be given temporarily.

It said in case it was needed to conduct government programmes on a ground which was booked, the civic body reserved the rights to cancel the booking without assigning any reason. The policy said the Commissioner of the civic body was the final authority on permitting or rejecting the permissions for using any public ground.

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