The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brokers to sell vacant space in Gariahat

With no taker for either the shops on the second floor of the Gariahat market or the residential flats above Bansdroni market, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has changed their nature of use and has engaged brokers to sell space.

Officials of the project and development department say 55 shops have been lying vacant on the second floor of the Gariahat market for over 15 years. During the past 18 years of construction, the top three floors of the proposed five-storeyed structure have not been built at all.

The CMC has put out advertisements in newspapers to sell off the shops at Gariahat that, surprisingly, have no taker. The Rs 2,000 for every square feet is not much considering that it is Gariahat, say officials. Hence the move to engage private brokers and the change in the nature of space use.

“We have been taken aback by the lack of interest,” admitted mayor Subrata Mukherjee. “So we have brought down the price (now Rs 1,500 per square feet) and engaged brokers,” he said. The brokers will get a commission for every shop sold.

Construction of the Gariahat and Bansdroni markets was taken up in 1985. A five-storeyed structure was planned at Bansdroni with a market-cum-shopping complex on the ground and first floors and residential flats on the three floors above them.

But the project and development department has been able to construct only the ground and first floors for Rs 2 crore, say officials. “Fed up” with the slow pace of work and the financial loss, the civic authorities have now decided to engage a promoter to construct the second, third and fourth floors. And these three floors will host shops and not flats. “I hope realtors will be attracted to the project if they are allowed to sell the 24,000 square feet for commercial purposes,” the mayor said.

Another “nagging” project is the housing project on DL Khan Road, the mayor admitted. It has given the CMC a bad name. The project, taken up in 1994 by the CMC under a self-financing scheme with a promise to hand over possession to buyers by 1997, is still incomplete.

The CMC has already taken Rs 3 crore from buyers who paid about Rs 1,100 for every square feet of floor. Those who have paid up include several non-resident Indians and government organisations like the Geological Survey of India and the Victoria Memorial Hall. Instead of using the money taken as advance, the last CPM-led board diverted the money to construct the Park Circus booster pumping station.

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