BBMP-State Hockey Association lock horns over 1977 contract
Palike allotted association 5.7 acres in 1977 conditionally, following which annual renewable contract fee would be Rs 100; conditions flouted, but fee remains the same
The Town-Planning Department of the BBMP stumbled upon discrepancies in a contract entered into by the palike and the State Hockey Association at Richmond Town in 1977 and realised that the association was not adhering to conditions laid down when 5.7 acres of land was allotted.
The contract was made and it was agreed that Rs 100 would be the amount payable annually for renewal, on condition that no commercial activity would be conducted on the premises. However, in due course the association came up with a club, party hall, swimming pool and an indoor restaurant, which caterers to the general public via counters.
Apart from this, the association also acquired a liquor license and has been serving alcohol legally for the last decade and even enrolls members for a fee. During inspection of the association, BBMP officials also discovered that the association has been paying a mere Rs 100 as annual fee for a property worth Rs 250 crore at the current market rate.
After conducting an inspection, the town planning committee highlighted these lapses and now plans to revise the renewable contract fee. "We have found that the conditions laid down by the BBMP in 1977 have been violated, but since times have changed we can relax certain rules. However, when it comes to the issue of tax we cannot compromise. We already have drafted a report and sent it to BBMP Commissioner H Siddhaiah," said C K Ramamurthy, chairman, standing committee town planning, BBMP.
Currently, the BBMP has been receiving only Rs 100 annually from the association, but the standing committee has drafted a proposal to collect Rs 1.5 lakh from the association on a monthly basis or around Rs 18 lakh as annual payment.
It comes as no surprise that the State Hockey Association is displeased about the development. "We have not violated any rules. Other associations should also be brought under this notice if we are being penalised. If they burden us with a heavy surge in cost, then we will appeal against this move," said K Krishnamurthy, secretary, State Hockey Association.
He further added that the corporation itself framed these rules and decided on the amount payable. "We are willing to pay extra, provided it is a meaningful increase," he said. Krishnamurthy added that if BBMP imposes the same rule upon other such sports institutions in the city then the SHA was more than willing to adhere to the new tax system.
Commenting on the issue, Siddhaiah claimed that that he would look into the matter. "I have sent a circular to the Town Planning Department on this issue and will now bring it up in the council meet for further discussion," he said.