PWD officials to inspect Mysore Race Club land today; to examine violations
A team of Public Works Department (PWD) officials will visit the Mysore Race Club (MRC) premises on Thursday afternoon to inspect the land that the government has leased out to the club. The visit assumes significance following reports of MRC sub-leasing the land to the Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Golf Club, violating lease terms.
The land lease to the MRC that began on 01-04-2006 will expire on 31-03-2016.
The inspection team will be headed by PWD Executive Engineer Ramachandra and will be accompanied by his personal assistant Sathyamurthy and case worker Narendra Babu. The officials will inspect the property and take stock of the situation.
The team will submit a report to the government on the extent of violation and it will be placed before the cabinet for final decision on whether to extend the lease or not.
The Mysore Race Club, one of the prestigious clubs in the city, has allegedly violated the government rules and regulations while leasing out land to the Jayachamaraja Wadiyar Golf Club.
PWD LETTER TO MRC
In a letter written to the Chairman/ Secretary Mysore Race Club (MRC) by the Office of the Executive Engineer (Special Wing), Public Works Department, Ports and Inland Water Transport (PWP & IWT) has specifically raised the violation issue and has sought an explanation.
According to the letter, the Race Club has violated the condition laid out in the agreement. The letter says that Condition 15 reads that the lessee (MRC) will not sub-lease any part of lease land without prior permission from the lessor i.e. Government of Karnataka.
“But, unfortunately, it is brought to the notice of the undersigned that the above leased land was sub-leased without the prior permission of the lessor. In this regard, we have received complaints from public and NGOs stating that you have sub-leased the above land to Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar Golf Club with documentary evidence,” the letter states.
“Hence, this is breach of agreement condition. In view of this, you are hereby directed to submit a proper explanation regarding the above violation of the agreement condition within fifteen days from the date of receipt of this letter. If proper explanation in this regard was not received within this stipulated period, suitable legal action will be initiated,” it states.
Replying to the PWD notice, MRC Secretary K G Anantharaj Urs has stated that the MRC has not violated the lease terms as the land has not been sublet. The MRC has not violated any conditions, has not indulged in any illegalities and it is ready to face the law, the reply stated.
Speaking to this newspaper, the secretary said: “The club has not sublet the land to JWGC. We have just allowed them to play in our premises.” When asked about the membership fees collected by the JWGC (the club collects Rs 5.5 lakh as membership fee from playing members and Rs 10.5 lakh for non-playing members), Anantharaj Urs said that MRC had nothing to do with the fees collected. “Money is collected for their administration purpose. We have nothing to do with it nor have a role to play,” he said.
JWGC A ‘TRESSPASSER’
In the Annual General Body meeting of the Mysore Race Club held on 30-09-2015, the acting chairman of the club Dr C D Sreenivasa Murthy, clarifying on the issues raised by member Dr G Jyothi Prakash, had noted that the JWGC was a trespasser.
In the minutes of the meeting, it was recorded as following: “With regard to the suggestion of Dr G Jyothi Prakash pertaining to collection of user development fee from JWGC, the acting chairman stated that the club has not been able to make an MOU with JWGC because the Government of Karnataka, in their licence agreement, have clearly stated that their cannot be a sub-lease. Therefore, legally speaking, JWGC is a trespasser. JWGC has many influential members who are trying to get a lease in favour of JWGC, but they have not succeeded in their efforts.”
A BOTANICAL GARDEN
In 2010, the district administration had written to the government to shift the Mysore Race Course out of the city limits and convert it into a botanical garden to attract tourists who usually visit the iconic Chamundi Hills.
The then Deputy Commissioner P Manivannan wrote a letter to the Principal Secretary, Revenue Department, urging him to take steps to shift the race course and convert the land into a Ooty-type botanical garden.
Manivannan had suggested to shift the golf club and its activities near the Mandakalli Airport. The garden would be a green buffer zone to preserve the ecologically sensitive hills and at the same time promote tourism, the officer had reasoned.
WHAT THE LEASE DOCUMENT SAYS
According to documents with this newspaper – Annexure to Government Order No. PWD 213 BMS 2007 dt: 05-03-2013, lease terms and conditions – the government (PWD) land measuring about 139 acres, 39 guntas in survey number 74, Mysuru City Kasaba Kurubarahalli village was leased out. And Condition 15 in the agreement prevents the MRC from leasing out any part of the land.
The document has been signed by K M Veeraiah, the Under Secretary to Government, Public Works, Ports, and Inland Water Transport Department.
The document states that the “duration of the lease will be 10 years from 01-04-2006 to 31-03-2016 on concessional basis at the rate of 2 percent of annual gross income of every year”.