Mangaluru City Corporation advises to Collect rent for laying underground cables

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Public apathy: Very few people turned up for the public consultative meeting called by the Mangaluru City Corporation to seek suggestions before drafting the budget for 2017-18.

Monday’s public consultative meeting called by the Mangaluru City Corporation to seek suggestions for the 2017-18 budget drew a poor response. However, one of the suggestions made was to collect monthly rent from telecom operators for laying underground cables in the city.

G. Hanumantha Kamath, president, Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti, said that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike had collected such a monthly rent. The model could be emulated in Mangaluru by fixing the rent per every metre of cable laid.

Mr. Kamath said that the corporation was now collecting one-time fee from telecom operators for cutting road and laying cables. If the corporation wanted to earn more revenue, it should collect monthly rent.

He suggested that from next financial year, the corporation should collect land documents from those who put up hoardings. It was because many advertisement companies did not pay land or ground rent to the corporation for putting up hoardings on government land. They avoid it by concealing the fact that the hoardings had been put up on private land. “Now, there is no proper system in the civic body to check it. While renewing the licences of hoardings or permitting new ones, the corporation should collect land documents to verify whether it was private or government land,” Mr. Kamath said. He claimed that the civic body lost about Rs. 1 crore annually in the form of ground or land rent.

Sudhir Shetty Kannur, councillor, suggested that the corporation should invite bids for giving rights to advertisement companies to put up and maintain hoardings on all roads or select roads. The civic body was only hiking the annual fee per annum for those companies.

G.K. Bhat, social activist, questioned the corporation laying interlock tiles on the footpath build with concrete slabs on the Bejai-Circuit House Road. Mr. Bhat suggested that after marking the pedestrian crossings on roads, the corporation should close the medians by erecting 5-ft tall iron grills so that nobody crossed roads wherever they liked. The corporation should reserve funds for the purpose in the next budget, he added.

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