Work on it was launched two years ago

The Mangalore City Corporation (MCC), which began constructing a market complex at Bejai two years ago, is yet to complete it. Work on the five-storey complex is lingering owing to paucity of funds, it is said.

Karnataka Land Army Corporation Ltd. (KLACL), a State-government undertaking, has stopped work on the complex. M. Ravi, Assistant Director, KLACL, Mangalore, told The Hindu that the city corporation had released only Rs. 1 crore. Work was stopped three months ago after building the cellar to park vehicles, he said.

Leader of the Opposition in the city corporation council Lancelot Pinto said that according to the Accounts Department of the city corporation, Rs. 1.23 crore had been released to the take up the complex project. It had been planned to build it at a cost of Rs. 4 crore. The cost had now escalated to Rs. 7 crore.

Minister in-charge of Dakshina Kannada J. Krishna Palemar laid the foundation stone for the complex on August 25, 2009.

It was Mr. Pinto, who proposed the market complex in 1988. He, as a councillor for Bejai Ward, submitted a proposal on December 12, 1988 to acquire land for the project. The council, at its meeting on December 20, 1988, passed a resolution to acquire land.

Mr. Pinto said the corporation's erstwhile market was on 14 cents of land at Bejai. Later, the corporation acquired 27 cents adjacent to its site by paying Rs. 23.32 lakh to its owner. It took a long time to acquire the land owing to various reasons. The complex was now coming up on 41 cents of land.

Sharat Kumar, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Taxation, Finance and Appeals, said that it was not possible for the corporation to bear the escalated cost of Rs. 7 crore. Money from the Rs. 100-crore special grant or from the grants from the State Finance Commission could be spent.

Premananda Shetty, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Town Planning and Improvement, said the MCC did not reserve funds for the complex project. G. Hanumantha Kamath, president of Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti, alleged that delay in completing the building work was intentional. Some “vested interests” in the corporation waited for the cost of project to go up, he alleged.