In an early morning crackdown, officials of the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA) sealed a hotel, located adjacent to Gurajada Open Air Theatre, at Siripuram here on Sunday on the charge that the proprietor Harshavardhan had got the lease extended in violation of the norms.
The leaseholder had got his lease extended by the erstwhile Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) in 2015 reportedly in violation of the rules. The then VUDA Vice Chairman had extended the lease by nine years, without considering the fact that the State government had already rejected the plea for extension of licence/lease, according to the vacation notice issued by VMRDA.
The VMRDA officials seized the hotel and sealed it reportedly after issuing a notice saying that the leaseholder had got the lease extended in violation of the rules. The lease rent is very less and the revenue of VMRDA is down due to the pandemic situation. Fresh tenders would be called to allot the premises to the highest bidder as per the rules.The VMRDA officials are also believed to have said that since it was more than three years that the extension was given, a decision on further extension of the lease cannot be taken at the local level and only the State government is competent to deal with it. Mr. Harshavardhan reportedly is a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) sympathiser. It may be recalled that an employee of Mr. Harshavardhan’s restaurant at the airport had attacked the then Opposition Leader and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy with a knife at Visakahaptnam Airport in October 2018.
“The lease for my hotel was renewed till 2024. I was not served any notice and last night, they got the notice printed, though it was a holiday on account of Deepavali, and pasted it on the gate. The land was leased to me and I had constructed the hotel building, after obtaining permission from VUDA, under PPP mode. I have paid all dues and I am not directly connected with any political party,” Mr. Harshavardhan told The Hindu.
Officials of the VMRDA could not be reached over the phone for a clarification.