aparajit chakraborty
KOLKATA, 8 JUNE: In order to tide over acute financial crunch, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has decided to sell vacant space at New Alipore and Entally markets. 
Around 5,382 square feet space of New Alipore and 6,600 square feet space at Entally market will be sold out, said Mr Tarak Singh, member, mayor-in-council (market). The civic body will float tender to select interested parties.  
The vacant space in several markets is in possession of local goons and political leaders who collect monthly rent from shop owners by intimidating them. A section of local Trinamul Congress leaders were allegedly involved in collecting money from shop owners by abusing their political power. The civic officials cannot take any action because of their political contact, said a senior KMC official of the market department, adding as a result the civic body is losing revenue to the tune of crores of rupees in a year from its market. 
The land of the markets went under the possession of local goons and political leaders because of lackadaisical attitude of the civic body to collect monthly rent from the shop owners, the official said.
The civic body is expected to earn more than Rs 8 crore by selling space. At present the market value is Rs 7,000 for a square feet space in Alipore and Entally Market, said Mr Singh.  
Mayor Sovan Chatterjee has presented a Rs 145 crore deficit Budget during the current fiscal. Last year, the KMC had presented a Rs 140 crore deficit Budget. With the money, the civic body is likely to tide over its financial crunch. 
New Alipore and Entally market are one of the oldest markets of the civic body that was inaugurated by the late mayor Kamal Bose. 
The civic officials have been facing difficulties to demolish dilapidated buildings under its markets due to resistance by local goons and political leaders. The buildings may collapse any time endangering the lives of common people. Soon, the civic officials will seek suggestions from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to resolve the problem. 
In order to augment revenue of the market department, the KMC will allow installation of billboards in its market. The billboards will be allowed to install after renovating various markets, including Jadubabaur Bazar, Park Circus market, Ramlal Bazar, Jadabgarh market and S N Roy market.