Published On:February 16 2018
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Construction of Aluva municipal market in limbo.
Three years after its foundation stone was launched with much fanfare, the construction of the proposed new municipal market in Aluva remains a non-starter even as 100-odd traders moved out of the demolished old market building continue to languish in temporary sheds and shacks.
The Aluva-based Federal Bank agreed to fund the ₹10-crore project against a collateral security by the Aluva municipality which duly pledged its municipal town hall. However, it was found that the town hall did not have a title deed as the municipality had received it by way of an ‘award.’
Consequently, the municipality pledged the title deed of the municipal park. While the bank accepted the property, it asked for fresh sanction with regard to the change of property from the State government.
“The matter resulted in prolonged delay as officials put up one query after another and even asked us to approach the bank for a reduced interest rate for the loan. We approached the bank, which agreed to reduce the interest rate further from 10.54% to 10.25%. In between, an aggrieved contractor and a trader who were shifted from the old market building approached court,” said Aluva municipal chairperson Lissy Abraham.
All these factors collectively led to a delay of over one-and-a-half years, following which the municipal authorities met Minister for Local Self Government K.T. Jaleel with a request to ease the formalities and speed up the grant of requisite sanction. The municipality now expects to receive sanction soon, in which case the construction will be launched shortly thereafter. The contractor has agreed to complete the construction of the building with over 100 shop rooms spread over the ground and first floors within six months.
“We have sought ₹10 crore for the proposed three-storey building. Initially, we will be constructing only two floors for which ₹5 crore will suffice,” said Ms. Abraham.
Meanwhile, Sebi V. Bastin, municipal councillor, said that the continuing delay in completing the construction had deprived the municipality, which was even finding it tough to pay salary to its employees, of crores of rupees towards rent. “Traders who continue business in temporary sheds are not complaining either as they are spared of paying rent. Besides, taking advantage of the uncertainty, illegal trade by encroachers is thriving on the market site,” he added.