Kolkata: The KMC has offered an additional maintenance charge of Rs 14.8 per square foot on top of the rent of Rs 6.5 per square foot in various civic markets. The civic body, however, backtracked after protests from traders and said the proposal would be sent to traders and the amount of the hike would be decided through discussions.
The proposal was announced during a meeting with market representatives. “It was reached after an investigation of all markets to compensate for the losses suffered by KMC,” said a city official.
Traders’ associations in major markets, including New Market, Maniktala Market, Gariahat Market, Lake Market and College Street Market, have demanded that the civic body submit the books of accounts to them so they can verify where the shortfall lies. win and how leaks can be plugged.
“We don’t want KMC to suffer losses. We’ll be ready to raise the rent, but it has to happen after we stop draining money. At this time, the civic body must launch a call for tenders even if some lights must be changed. Often the money spent on the process itself is more than the cost of the work when considering the market rate. Traders want to ensure that the money that is donated to the civic body is spent properly,” said SS Hogg Market Traders Association President Ashok Gupta. A civic official said the KMC was even willing to outsource maintenance of the markets to associations if they felt the civic body demanded more than the maintenance fee should be.
“We have requested the civic body to put such a proposal in writing and we will respond accordingly,” West Bengal Traders Federation General Secretary Tarak Nath Trivedi said.
The civic body has already decided to release itself from the responsibility of supplying electricity to shops and has asked shopkeepers to take the meters directly from the CESC. At present, the counters of the stores belong to the KMC.