The Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) plans to construct highrise malls in several parts of the city has come under scrutiny as it has reportedly failed in collecting rents from tenants in its already existing commercial complexes.
A reply obtained under RTI states that tenants owe over Rs15.5 crore to the BDA. BDA has 15 commercial complexes in areas like Indiranagar, HSR Layout, Vijayanagar, Nagarbhavi and other parts of the city where it has rented out 774 shops and offices spaces.
An RTI activist BM Shivkumar who accessed the information under RTI said, “The BDA is contemplating to construct multi-storied malls in several parts of the city and convert existing market areas owned by it into malls. The BDA has earmarked over Rs500 crore for the purpose. It is shocking to see that the BDA, which is overenthusiastic about constructing new malls, has failed to collect dues worth from tenants in several commercials complexes.”
“The BDA is taking up the projects despite the fact that its financial condition is very poor. When Bharat Lal Meena was the commissioner of the BDA he had written a letter to the state government stating that the authority’s financial condition is weak and not even able to fund infrastructure facilities in the layouts formed by it. That being the case how can the BDA now think of taking up construction of malls worth over Rs500 crore.” Kumar alleged that to favour businessmen and politicians, the BDA is succumbing to the pressure overlooking financial realities.
As per the information provided by BDA, east division of the authority alone has due amount of Rs12.56 crore as on August 2012. Tenants in commercials complexes of BDA in areas like Koramangala, Indiranagar, Austin Town, Domlur, HSR Layout and others have not paid dues to the BDA or delaying the payment of rents over the years. The next highest default is from North division, Rs42.49 lakh.
“In the past, the BDA had made an attempt to acquire 123.3 acres land of Beggars Colony from the social welfare department assuring that it will build hospitals and parks like Lalbagh, but later colluded with businessmen and politicians and changed the plan to construct highrise building, convention halls and star hotels. Thanks to the intervention of the court, BDA had to drop the plan..” Shivkumar said.
“Now it has come up with a proposal to build commercial complexes and buildings in various parts of the city. Let them first collect dues from tenants, and then plan bigger on constructing malls. Bangalore already has good number of malls said to be more than Delhi, I do not know why they need more. Malls in busy areas add problems to existing traffic movements,” said Shivkumar.
The BDA has plans to construct around 20 malls in several parts of the city.