Staff Correspondent

Bijapur: Amidst opposition by shopkeeper, a team of officials closed 34 shops in the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar stadium complex here on Tuesday. The lease agreement for these shops expired on May 31, 2010.

The district administration had leased 47 shops in the complex for five years by inviting tenders.

However, 13 shopkeepers approached the court a few days ago and got a stay and decided not to vacate the shops. They also demanded that the lease agreement be continued by collecting the necessary fees.

Reacting to the shop-owners' demand, the authorities said that they would invite tenders once again and lease out the shops. “The move is inevitable as the authorities concerned have to pay the salaries of the people working in the stadium and pay for the maintenance of the complex using the money generated as rent from the shops. If there is no increase in rent it will be difficult to pay salaries,” the authorities said.

Irked by this, the shop owners approached Deputy Commissioner R. Shantraju and urged him to stop the closure of shops. However, the Deputy Commissioner refused to listen to their grievances and forced them to leave his office.

Speaking to The Hindu, Raju who runs a photo studio said that a meeting of all shopkeepers had been convened on Tuesday evening and a decision would be taken to urge the authorities concerned to continue the lease agreement or reach any other amicable solution.