Reality bites: GCDA to crack whip on encroachers
By Express News Service | Published: 13th October 2017 01:30 AM |
KOCHI: The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) will go ahead with the evacuation of encroachers from its land. So far, it has been successful in recovering the land at Kakkanad and Kadavanthra. The present GCDA Council had prepared an asset register and has identified and earmarked the properties owned by the agency.“We are going ahead with the recovery of land,” GCDA chairman C N Mohanan told Express. “For the past few weeks, we were busy with the arrangements in connection with the FIFA World Cup. The evacuation drive will be resumed soon after the event.”
Meanwhile, the audit report of the GCDA compiled for the financial year 2015-16 has found various irregularities. According to the report, the previous GCDA Council had failed in collecting arrears towards rent from the tenants of its various shopping complexes. It also criticised the then GCDA office bearers for neglecting the arrears dues causing a huge financial liability to the agency. “We have also identified there are various shop owners, who have leased out shops in GCDA buildings. They are yet to pay the arrears. We have already served notices to some of them. Stringent action will also be taken against them,” he said.
The audit report pointed out the laser show, which was launched during the tenure of former chairman N Venugopal, had violated the norms. “The show was set up by the previous council by spending almost Rs 4 crore from GCDA’s own fund. We cannot abandon it after spending that much money. Moreover, the present council does not want to utilise the agency’s own fund for the revival. Hence, we have decided to float a tender and identify an agency to manage the laser show,” said Mohanan.
The cage fish farm project initiated by the previous council was also criticised in the audit report. According to the report, it was set up without conducting a proper feasibility study. The report also criticised the then officials for purchasing inappropriate equipment and for not depositing the adequate number of fishlings.“All these irregularities were pointed out in the white paper published by the GCDA soon after I assumed the chairman’s office. We have already lodged complaints with the Revenue Department and the state government. However, we are liable to protect and preserve the water body at Mundamveli. Our plan is to entrust co-operative societies or self-help groups with the fish farming. The portal in this regard is in its preliminary stages,” said Mohanan.
No Violation of rules
Meanwhile, Venugopal said every project during his tenure was implemented with the administrative sanction of the state government. “We have carried out both the laser show and cage fish farming in the most transparent manner. Tenders were floated. We appointed a technical committee of experts to look into the feasibility of the fish farm project. The seedlings were deposited as per the recommendations put forth by the experts,” said the former chairman.
He said various projects, especially housing projects, completed during his tenure are yet to be opened. “Nobody is talking about the properties lying idle. For instance, we have completed the construction of 25 studio apartments at Kakkanad. It was a project initiated by the council led by M C Josephine. We have completed it. The property has been developed on 25 cents owned by GCDA at Kakkanad,” he said.
“Though we have fixed the price at Rs 20 lakh per unit, there were not many takers for the property. Later, we decided to tender it for a lower cost. But by that time, my tenure ended. Now, even after two years, the present council has not taken any steps to re-tender it,” he said. He also asked the present council to take steps to rehabilitate 18 shop owners at Ambedkar stadium to the newly constructed building near the stadium. Similarly, there are 6 apartments constructed by GCDA near the Ernakulam South railway station. “They are also lying idle,” he said. Another project is the building at Kottuvally at Paravoor.