Staff Reporter

Following failure to reach settlement

Traders to be directed to vacate premises in 15 days or face evictionWork on C block completeTraders demanding further downward revision in rental and deposit ratesProject estimated to cost Rs.5 crores

Thiruvananthapuram: The Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority (TRIDA) is preparing to issue eviction notice to 65 traders who will be displaced for the widening of MG Road in the Palayam commercial area.

The move follows the failure to reach a negotiated settlement on a rehabilitation package.

TRIDA chairman P.K. Venugopal said the traders would be issued notice on Saturday directing them to vacate their premises in 15 days or face eviction.

He said TRIDA had completed work on the C block built to relocate the shops slated for demolition. All the 65 shops were ready for occupation, he added.

The rehabilitation scheme got bogged down after the traders demanded a drastic reduction in the rental and deposit rates proposed for the new shops. At a meeting convened by Minister for Local Self-Government K. Kutty Ahmed Kutty earlier this month, TRIDA agreed to reduce the rates. But the traders are demanding a further downward revision.

Mr. Venugopal said a majority of the traders were not in the mood for confrontation with TRIDA or the Government. "We expect most of them to vacate their premises," he added.

The first phase of the C block covering two floors will accommodate the shops on the eastern side of MG Road from the Connemara market to the Saphalyam complex. As many as 102 traders who were relocated to temporary sheds for the construction of the underpass will also be shifted to the new complex in the second phase of the project.

Three additional floors will be added to the structure, taking the carpet area to 5,600 sq. metres.

Estimated to cost Rs.5 crores, the rehabilitation project is being executed with TRIDA's own funds and the compensation to be fixed by the Government for the land that will be released for road widening.

The relocation of the 65 shops from Palayam to the VJT Hall junction will clear the way for the widening of MG Road on this stretch.

The narrow section is responsible for the traffic bottlenecks in the Palayam area and the failure to utilise the underpass fully.