JDA’s Rs 213 cr worth multilevel complex at Bus Stand turns out to be a white elephant

Over 100 shops lying vacant due to exorbitant rates

*Revenue generation far less than annual maintenance cost

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Apr 14: Constructed at a cost of Rs 213 crore, the Jammu Development Authority’s Bus Stand-cum-Multilevel Car Parking-cum-Commercial Complex has turned out to be a white elephant as majority of the shops and other commercial spaces are lying vacant due to exorbitant rates and the revenue being generated through parking of vehicles is far less than the expenditure being made annually on the maintenance of complex as well as for its security.

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The complex having built up area of around 60,064 square meter was inaugurated on February 11, 2021 and it was claimed at that time that complex is a major step towards accommodating the business class as well as meeting essential requirements of quality life for ordinary citizens.
The complex is having bus stand for 80 buses, parking for 1312 cars and 177 two wheelers, 167 shops of different sizes for commercial purpose, space for food-court and some offices. However, ever since its inauguration the complex is not generating revenue even to meet the annual maintenance and security expenditure, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
Out of 167 shops, 51 have been allotted to those persons whose shops were dismantled to pave the way for construction of multilevel complex. Despite lapse of more than three years, the Jammu Development Authority has failed to make allotment of remaining shops as due to exorbitant rates fixed by the Authority nobody is coming forward to take the same, sources said.
“A number of representations were sent to the Jammu Development Authority by different businessmen asking for slashing the rates of the shops to the reasonable level but this aspect was never considered seriously as a result of which more than 100 shops are still lying vacant”, they further said, adding three years was sufficient period for those who remained at the helm of affairs to vigorously pursue this aspect with the higher authorities so as to find way out for allotment of such a large number of shops”.
Moreover, the parking complex has been outsourced by the Jammu Development Authority at such a price which is not sufficient even to meet the expenditure being incurred on annual maintenance of the multilevel complex. “Further, the Jammu Development Authority is spending money from its own budget to meet the expenditure on ensuring security of the complex”, sources informed.
“It seems that all the important aspects were not kept in mind while fixing the rates of shops of different sizes otherwise such a mega complex would have generated enough revenue for the Jammu Development Authority instead of turning out to be a white elephant”, sources said, adding “all those officers who remained at the helm of affairs in the Jammu Development Authority never vigorously pursued with the higher authorities the difficulties in making allotment of shops”.
An officer of the Jammu Development Authority, who is well versed with the details of the multilevel complex, admitted, on the condition of anonymity, that complex was not generating enough revenue to meet the annual maintenance expenditure and money being spent on ensuring security of the complex. He admitted that agreement with the agency which has been given parking places on outsourcing basis is required to be revised so as to generate more revenue.
According to the insiders, a move has been initiated to engage Transaction Advisor to guide Jammu Development Authority on vacant shops aspect and Board of Directors decision in this regard is still pending. “What modus operandi will be evolved is not known as of now but efforts are going on to find a way out”, they said, adding “the multilevel complex is not the only asset of Jammu Development Authority which is not generating revenue as was planned as there are such assets in other areas also”.
EXCELSIOR made repeated calls to the senior officers of the Jammu Development Authority to ascertain the steps being taken to make the multilevel complex a revenue generating project but there was no response from anyone of them.