GUWAHATI: According to the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG’s) report on local bodies for the year 2016-17, Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) suffered loss of revenue amounting to Rs 16.08 lakh due to lack of monitoring of deposit of lease value by lessee of the Beltola Bi-weekly Market, besides suspected misappropriation of Rs 6.49 lakh.
The CAG report said that as per Clause 3 of GMC (Lease of Parking places and Markets) Bye-Laws, 2009, the Commissioner, GMC is competent to lease out parking places and markets belonging to the Corporation annually with the approval of the Standing Finance Committee or the Corporation as the case may be. Further, clause 13 of the Bye-Laws states that the lessee shall deposit 50 per cent of the settled value as advance deposit. The balance 50 per cent shall be paid in equal number of weekly or monthly installments as may be fixed in advance.
Notably, the Commissioner, GMC invited tender on March 23, 2015 for settlement of five GMC notified markets which included Beltola Bi-weekly Market in Guwahati. Accordingly, GMC allotted the lease of Beltola Bi-weekly market to Puja Construction for an amount of Rs 88.51 lakh for 2015-16. However, due to delay in finalization of lease, GMC restricted the operation period to a period of 11 months 9 days with effect from April 22, 2015 to March 31, 2016 at a reduced rate of Rs 83.45 lakh.
According to the report, the bye-laws stated that the lessee shall deposit 50 per cent of the settled value to be paid as advance. Accordingly, the lessee had to pay an advance of Rs 25.03 lakh. Further, the lessee had also to pay an installment of Rs 6.49 lakh along with the advance payment and the remaining amount in eight equal installments of Rs 6.49 lakh. As such, if the lessee fails to pay any of the installments on the scheduled date, 20 per cent surcharge was to be paid. Further, the agreement also envisaged that if the lessee fails to pay two consecutive installments together with surcharge, the lease settlement shall be terminated forthwith and earnest money and 30 per cent deposit as advance payment shall be forfeited.
“Scrutiny of records of the Market Branch of GMC revealed that the lessee paid Rs 31.52 lakh on April 22, 2015 in monthly installments by cheque as well as cash from July 2015 to October 2016,” the report said.
Notably, four out of five cheques deposited by the lessee had bounced due to which the lessee paid the installments in cash at a later date for the bounced cheques except one cheque for Rs 6.49 lakh against which no payment was made. The lessee was supposed to pay an amount of Rs 51.92 lakh through eight installments, whereas, the lessee paid Rs 45.43 lakh by way of seven installments. Hence, there was a short payment of one installment of Rs 6.49 lakh.
“The lessee had to pay installments on the last day of every month in advance but the same was also delayed every time. As payment of all the eight installments were delayed, the lessee had to pay surcharge amount of Rs 9.59 lakh but the same was not charged by the GMC,” the report added.