The YSR Congress party government in Andhra Pradesh headed by chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has discovered yet another major scam perpetrated during the previous Telugu Desam Party regime led by N Chandrababu Naidu.
This scam is about some key people in the TDP government taking several private buildings on lease on a rent ranging from a few thousands of rupees up to Rs 1 crore and in turn, giving the same on rent to the state government for a huge rent.
The new government has identified as many as 200 such people, including a gentleman who held key position in the government, who looted the government money by collecting huge amounts as rent for such buildings.
Apparently, they sought to take advantage of the lack of permanent buildings for the state government after it moved from Hyderabad to Vijayawada and Guntur permanently, though they could have operated from Hyderabad till 2024.
On March 7, 2016, the then TDP government issued a government order (GO Ms No. 37), abnormally increasing the rent for the private buildings to be taken on lease by the state government departments fixed previously in 2011.
Accordingly, the rent for buildings hired by the government departments in Vijayawada and Guntur was raised from Rs 7 per sq ft to Rs 18 per sq ft; in Visakhapatnam from Rs 7 to Rs 12 and in Tirupati from Rs 7 per sq ft to Rs 10.
In all other corporations and special grade municipalities, the rent was increased from Rs 5.50 to Rs 10 per sft, and selection grade municipalities from Rs 5.50 to Rs 8 per sft, in all Grade-I Municipalities. Rs.4.50 to Rs 8 per sft and in all the other Municipalities and Mandal Headquarters from R 3 to Rs 6 per sft.
The reason cited by the government was that the building owners were not coming forward to lease or to rent their buildings at the old rates and were also pressing to vacate the buildings already occupied by the government departments or to enhance the rent as per the local market valuations of the buildings.
“Thus, the building owners had looted huge money from the government because of this abnormal fixation of rents. Now, all these lease agreements will be cancelled and the government will go in for own buildings to accommodate the government departments,” sources said.