38 Futala lake restaurants continue despite lease lapse
any action on the restaurants citing the state's Urban Development Department (UDD) order pending on an appeal filed by a private operator — Sell Ads.
On August 5, NIT had issued a notice to sell ads directing all restaurants to remove and vacate the Futala lake area on or before August 16. Sell Ads was given a lease for five years and was supposed to lapse on February 16 this year. However, NIT had extended the lease by 18 more months as per UDD's orders. The extended lease was supposed to come to an end on August 16.
Sell Ads did not shift their restaurants. Again, NIT has issued a reminder notice to Sell Ads on September 1 directing to remove restaurants and vacate the area. NIT had also directed Sell Ads to deposit a premium of Rs47.24 lakh pending for over the last two years.
A NIT official told TOI forceful evacuation could have been possible if UDD disposed off appeal filed by Sell Ads. "The appeal was filed by Sell Ads with UDD challenging NIT's extension order. It has not given any stay, so notices have been issued to Sell Ads. NIT has written to UDD on September 1 about the lapse of lease and has sought opinion," he said.
Sources told TOI NIT cannot raze restaurants but only ask Sell Ads to stop operation of restaurants till UDD passes an order. "NIT can go and seal the restaurants if Sell Ads does not stop operation of restaurants. NIT can take further decision as per the orders. Restaurants cannot function after lapse of lease," the sources said.
However, the NIT is in no mood to initiate any action and is sitting pretty for UDD's order.
Principal secretary of UDD Manisha Mhaiskar told TOI that the department was processing the matter.
Sell Ads director Shailen Mehta said he was waiting for the order. "I will follow whatever orders come from UDD," he said.
UDD's inordinate delay in taking decision on the appeal is proving beneficial for Sell Ads and owners of restaurants. The appeal case is pending with for last one year. Earlier, UDD's order had benefited Sell Ads to a great extent as got 18 more months extension despite termination order given by the NIT as per the High Court's orders.
February 17, 2010: NIT signs agreement with Sell Ads to establish 20 mobile kiosks on temporary basis at Futala lake
August 22, 2013: Activist Sanjay Agrawal files petition in HC alleging rampant violation of agreement
August 16, 2014: NIT terminates agreement with Sell Ads over violations
August 20, 2014: HC dismisses petition following action by NIT on Sell Ads
February 16, 2015: Lease comes to an end
March 19, 2015: State urban development department ask NIT to review termination order
Sept 14, 2015: NIT gives 18 months extension with effect from Feb 16, 2015
August 16, 2016: Extended lease also comes to an end