Old rentals a great loss to VUDA
Traders occupy shops for years due to official negligence; newcomers deprived of opportunityA VSN Murthy Visakhapatnam: The main source of...
Traders occupy shops for years due to official negligence; newcomers deprived of opportunityA VSN Murthy Visakhapatnam: The main source of income for Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) is shopping complexes. But the revenue from them is actually an insult to the VUDA treasury. The rents fixed for these shops some 10 years ago have never been revised. As per the rules, auctions have to be conducted every three years and the rents need to be revised. But the VUDA officials have neglected this important activity. The licence for the shops expires every three years. But it is noted that the traders have settled here for years, causing huge loss to the treasury and also depriving newcomers of an opportunity. For example, in VUDA Udyog Bhavan Shop Nos 023-042 and 43 are occupied by AP Real Estate Developers' Association for a paltry Rs 1,501 rent per month for the past 10 years. From this organisation alone VUDA is losing nearly Rs 1 lakh annually. The Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) pays just Rs 977 per month to VUDA for its ATM in the complex. Elsewhere, the rent is not less than Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 per month. From the fish canteen atop Kailasagiri, Rs 750 per month is collected as rent. It belongs to MD of Visakha Dairy. An area of 553 sq ft in the Udhyog Bhavan has been rented out to SV Engineering Constructions Private India Ltd., for just Rs 8,130. A private school is being run in the phase one of VUDA shopping complex that is under construction at Peddagantyada. As per the shop code 020-001, Shop Nos. 1 to 15 and 17 to 23 have been allocated to this. Even though this violates the Education Department rules, VUDA officials ignored them. In some cases, those who have obtained shops from VUDA at cheap rates are giving the shops on sub-lease to others for a huge amount as 'goodwill'. Though there have been instances of one organisation obtaining licence for some three or four shops and making changes against the rules and regulations of VUDA, the officials have turned a blind eye to this. In addition, while VUDA is supposed to display the details of its possessions all over the city on its website, it is learnt that it is 'hiding' some of the assets. It is allegedly delaying the allocation of a number of vacant shops to newcomers. Notably, VUDA is not showing these vacant positions on the website. For example, Shop No. 39 in Udyog Bhavan has been empty for some months now. Similarly, office space measuring 1,500 sq ft in the first floor of VUDA Complex at MVP Colony Sector 3 is not displayed in the website and is not known to exist. Many do not know that a VUDA Guest House has existed in the cellar. All these details are not uploaded in VUDA's official website. Even the Gurajada Kalakshetram, which is just a stone's throw from VUDA building, is not shown on the website. Those who have obtained licences for shops in the VUDA Complex have to display not only their names on the website but also the purpose for which they have taken the shops. Otherwise, VUDA would be blamed for lack of transparency. People said officials' negligence is the main reason for such poor revenue generation by VUDA. Even though a number of vice-chairmen have been appointed so far, none has taken interest in improving the revenue of VUDA. It is alleged that the officials who come here on deputation are only filling their pockets in the name of shopping complexes. In this context it is a mystery how VUDA will come out its deficit budget. The VUDA budget is at a deficit of Rs. 46 crore. If the officials focus on such loopholes it will yield results to a certain extent. It is notable that despite all this, VUDA vigilance officials who know everything have not initiated any action.