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Petition by Mattuthavani traders’ body dismissed

Staff Reporter

Vice-president to pay licence fee arrears exceeding Rs. 1 lakh

— Photo: G. Moorthy.

Risky option: Commuters inside the Mattuthavani integrated bus stand.

MADURAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed a writ petition filed by the Integrated Bus Stand Traders’ Association at Mattuthavani here against permitting private individuals to put up shops in public resting places in the terminus.

Justice K. Chandru declined to entertain the petition following a clarification given by the Municipal Corporation Commissioner and the petitioner’s failure to include two successful bidders, for putting up shops, as parties to the petition.

The Judge made the association vice-president, who had taken three shops on lease inside the bus terminus, to pay licence fee arrears exceeding Rs. One lakh. He imposed it as a pre-condition to take up the petition for final hearing.

In his counter affidavit, the Corporation Commissioner said that were 178 shops of various sizes in the integrated bus stand. Further, there were two vacant places of 600 square feet each in the second and third platforms. In order to augment income to the corporation, it was decided to advertise in the newspapers to auction those two open spaces on a monthly licence fee. The upset price was fixed at Rs.16,524 and an advertisement was issued on August 28, 2007.

It was made mandatory to deposit a non-refundable deposit of Rs. Two lakh to participate in the auction and clarified that the successful bidders would have to build the shops with their own funds.

The public auction was conducted on January 22 and two individuals won the bid, out of five participants, for a monthly licence fee of over Rs. 17,000. The Commissioner also stated that the open spaces might be encroached, if allowed to remain vacant.

Corporation counsel, M. Suresh Kumar, produced photographs before the Judge to prove that there would be no shrinkage of public space, owing to the shops. He also pointed out that the allotted space did not encroach on the platforms.

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