In a city constantly parched for some dry land, this may appear to be a windfall. For Airports Authority of India (AAI), however, the news that two of its prime plots in Juhu — worth more than Rs 100 crore — could be auctioned off by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is beyond question a bolt from the blue. All allegedly because of a defaulting tenant. The lessee Santosh Enterprises, who operates two parking sites on AAI land in Juhu, has not paid several lakh rupees as assessment tax to BMC despite repeated reminders. As a result the civic body has attached the plots and is in the process of issuing an auction notification soon.
In its correspondence to AAI in January 2012, BMC asked for the payment of pending assessment tax of Rs 14.3 lakh for the tracts rented out for parking. “During January, the assessment tax notice along with bill was sent to AAI, and we asked them to make the payment in a given timeframe, which they failed to do. A month later, reminders were sent to AAI, informing them about the auction process of the said land if they failed to make the payment again. About two weeks back, we attached both the properties. Now we are in the process of issuing a notification for the auction of both the lands, which will take one more month. If AAI pay the tax in this period, we will stop the auctioning process. Or else we will go ahead with it,” said a BMC official on condition of anonymity.
BMC sources also revealed that a hangar rented to a chopper company by AAI at Juhu Aerodrome is also in the process of getting attached due to non-payment of assessment tax. When contacted, A B Sawant, assistant commissioner (assessment), BMC, refused to comment on the issue However, AAI accepted that it is in receipt of one such notice.
“We have received a letter from BMC where it has asked for immediate payment towards assessment tax for both the properties located at Juhu. The taxes as per agreement are supposed to be paid by the lesser, which it has not done. We are in touch with BMC to solve the issue at earliest,” said M Yadagiri, director, Juhu Aerodrome.
Time for auction!
AAI (Juhu Aerodrome) rented the two plots at Juhu to Santosh Enterprises, at monthly rents of Rs 5.5 lakh and Rs 6 lakh, for operating a parking business. According to the agreement between both the parties, Santosh Enterprises was supposed to pay all the taxes associated with the properties in the period of tenancy. Sources close to AAI said that the given plots have capacity for parking 400 vehicles at any given point of time and the current market price of the plots in total would be more than Rs 100 crore.
MiD DAY on April 6, reported (Pay cut agony for airport staff as airlines don’t pay Rs 1,300 crore dues) AAI mooting a proposal to cut the wages of its employees due to defaulters. Carriers defaulting in payment to the tune of about Rs 1,300 crore has impinged the financial status of the authority and as a result a proposal related to wage cut is reportedly under serious consideration at the top level in Delhi.
The other side
BN Shukla, owner of Santosh Enterprises, said, “The amount is to be paid by AAI and I think they will make the payment at the earliest.”