Traders at Charminar, citing poor business, express inability to pay revised rent with 25 per cent hike; wants authorities to settle for 10 per cent hike

The plans of the Quli Qutb Shah Urban Development Authority (QQSUDA) to perk up its income by raising rents on its properties by 25 per cent suffered a jolt after traders at Charminar expressed their inability to pay the revised rates.

Traders cited poor business in the last few months owing to disturbances in and around Charminar over the Bhagya Laxmi temple issue as a reason. Instead, the 75-odd traders wanted the authorities to ‘settle’ for a 10 per cent hike.

The cash-strapped QQSUDA has proposed to hike rents by 25 per cent this year to generate more revenue. It started issuing notices to its tenants to clear their dues a few months ago.

The QQSUDA collects a monthly rent of nearly Rs. 2 lakh from its properties at Charminar, Quli Qutb Shah Stadium and Dhoolpet. On the Charminar stretch, it collects between Rs. 700 and Rs. 1,500 as rent per shop depending upon the size of ‘mulgis’.

The rents are relatively low compared to private properties. The shops were leased out more than 30 years ago to mainly unemployed people, and what the authorities had then collected was peanuts. The lease agreement is renewed every three years.

Officials admit to the low rents and reason out that mulgis are rented out to unemployed and poor people. However, the ground reality is that most mulgis are controlled by benamis.

Till a few years ago, tenants at Charminar did not pay even the rent, officials say. However, after the QQSUDA acted tough and warned of cancellation of lease agreements, a major portion of the arrears running into a few lakhs was collected.

“We will shortly take a decision on the percentage of the rent to be hiked soon in the latest context,” an official said.

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