SHIVAMOGGA: Even though 20 years are left for expiry, a proposal to extend the lease of the Shivappa Nayaka Mall from present 32 years to 99 years has found its place in the agenda of the Shivamogga City Corporation meeting, scheduled to be held on Monday.
Interestingly, nobody knows who inserted the subject in the agenda of the meeting. Mayor Sunitha Annappa said "the subject was included in the agenda without bringing it to her notice."
This has attracted the ire of the opposition corporators as a few months itself the standing committee on taxation had rejected the proposal citing that 20 more years were left for the expiry of the lease agreement. The subject has again figured in the agenda for discussion and approval. The Congress, the opposition party in the corporation, has seen a 'conspiracy' behind this move and questioned what was the need to extend the lease to 99 years even before the expiry of the lease agreement.
The agenda copy circulated to all the corporators states that Bearys Golden Harvest Holdings Private Limited, which is the license fee holder of the mall, has sought the extension of the license fee period from 32 years to 99 years. Congress corporator Ramesh Hegde told The New Indian Express that the City Corporation had entered into an MoU with the private company to construct the mall in 2009.
"Shivappa Nayaka Market, which was situated at the place, was demolished to construct the mall. As per the agreement between the corporation and the company, the construction period was two years and commercial operation for next 30 years. The agreement was on build-operate-transfer basis. Even though 20 years left for the expiry of the lease, a proposal to extend the lease was brought before the standing committee on taxation. The committee rejected the proposal then. Again, the same subject is included in the agenda. What was the need for it now?" he questioned.
Leader of Opposition Yamuna Rangegouda said, "It is still a mystery who recommended the subject to be included in the agenda." Situated in the central business district, the mall houses outlets of well known brands and has become a go-to place for shopping and entertainment.
Mayor Sunitha Annappa told The New Indian Express that the matter is included in the agenda without bringing it to her notice, and the subject will be dropped in the meeting. "I also feel that extending the lease to 99 years is uncalled for," she added.
Leader of the ruling BJP party S N Channabasappa said, "Officials included the subject in the agenda. However, the lease cannot be extended for 99 years. The lease is slated to expire in 2041. Only before three months of the expiry that the company can approach the corporation for extension."