Firoz Rozindar

There is a provision to renew rents every four years

State Exchequer is losing revenue

Chitradurga: With an intention of giving financial stability to panchayatiraj institutions, the Government, in 1977, mooted the plan of distributing funds for constructing shopping complexes in the limits of these institutions. Those complexes could be given on rent and the money collected could be used for the maintenance of these institutions, it was thought.

The Government while releasing funds also had made a provision of renewing the rental in every four years.

But unfortunately even after three decades, no renewal has been made by the Government, which is causing heavy loss to the State Exchequer. Chitradurga city has over 20 shops constructed by the zilla panchayat which are still paying rent as less as Rs. 100 a month in the absence of renewal. This rent was fixed some 30 years ago.

According to a rough estimation, the present rent (where some have been set up in prime areas) is between Rs. 5000 and 15,000 per month.

Such shops constructed by taluk and gram panchayats are many in the district. Those shop owners are still enjoying ownership by paying cheap rent.

“The Government wanted to ensure that the institutions have their own means of generating revenue at least for maintenance of their offices. But the amount, which is now being collected through rent, does not even meet small expenses,” says zilla panchayat member Tippeswamy.

He said that it was the duty of the zilla panchayat chief executive officer, the taluk panchayat executive officers and gram panchayat secretaries to renew the rent every four years, but till date, these officials have not taken the initiative.

Many zilla panchayat members, who did not wish to be named, say that there is a lobby responsible for the situation. The shop owners pay bribe to some officials of these institutions and also elected representatives to ensure that the rent is not renewed.

“The situation has become serious to the extent that it is difficult to bring about change, as many shop owners enjoy political patronage,” they admit.

When contacted, the zilla panchayat chief executive officer, H.P. Prakash, who took charge recently, said that he is aware of the problem and would take steps to curb this practice.

“The matter would be discussed with the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police before formulating plans,” he said.