The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld the allotment of all the 120 cracker shops on Island Grounds by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) to a single bidder.
Originally, a batch of writ petitions were filed by social activist ‘Traffic’ KR Ramaswamy and Chennai Metro Fire Works Dealers Association and another challenging a notification dated September 5 this year of the TTDC inviting tenders for allotment of cracker shops on Island Grounds along with other shops, including eateries and textiles.
The first bench of the then Acting Chief Justice RK Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, however, dismissed it pointing out the huge space between the cracker shops and other shops, as the Couum river divided them.
They filed the present miscellaneous petitions seeking certain clarifications in the October 7 order.
They contended that the TTDC had allotted all the 120 cracker shops to a single bidder, who, in turn, sold 90 shops at the rate of 65 paise per sq.ft per day.
When the association members approached the TTDC, they were advised to obtain shops for consideration from the bidder. Hence, they moved the High Court again seeking clarification as to whether they would be permitted to trade on Island Grounds.
The bench of Chief Justice Agrawal pointed out that during the hearing on the earlier writ petition, an offer was made by Additional Advocate-General PH Arvind Pandian to take the entire 3 lakh square feet at the rate of 65 paise per square feet per day.
But the association members declined the offer.
This court had also suggested to find out the possibility of locating the shops in the open space available on the Lady Wellington College premises on Beach Road on the Marina.
The AAG had said that the place was not suitable as it had only one entry point and in case of any fire accident or mishap, there was a likelihood of loss of human lives.
He added that 30 shops were yet available and the petitioners could approach the bidder for the allotment.
They had rejected this offer as well and demanded preferential allotment on the ground of legitimate expectation and the same was negatived by this court in the common October 7 order, the bench further pointed out.
There was nothing wrong on the part of the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation to take advantage of the location of the Island Grounds and earn something through the allotment.
The petitioners were seeking to review the earlier order and the same was not permissible in law, the bench added and dismissed the petitions.