Corporation authorities crack down on shops due to rent default

Shops in Rani Mangammal Chathiram complex were sealed by the Madurai Corporation owing to rent dues.

Shops in Rani Mangammal Chathiram complex were sealed by the Madurai Corporation owing to rent dues. | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

As many as 12 shops on the Rani Mangammal Chathiram complex, opposite the railway junction, have been sealed by the Madurai Corporation in the past six months owing to rent dues.

The complex – spread in between West Veli Street and West Marret Street – was given a new life a few years ago by the Corporation to attract customers. The complex houses a total of 30 shops, including commercial establishments, curio shops and lodges, even a few shops rented to government departments.

Assistant Commissioner of Zone 3 (central) M.P. Manoharan, who was on his regular rounds to the shops to remind owners of the rent dues, said that they are neither ready to pay the rent nor vacate, which is giving us a tough time.

A staff member working in one of the shops for eight years said that they had been paying ₹10,500 per month as rent. “But a few years back, we received a notice from the Corporation with a hiked rent wanting us to pay ₹1 lakh per month which came as a shock to us,” she added.

Another shopkeeper for 10 years, requesting anonymity, said that they either want us to pay or vacate soon, which is unfair, as only now after the dull sales during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, sales had been picking up, he said.

“At least a hike of 15% to 30% is feasible, but a 100% hike seems like a hard move,” he added.

Speaking to The Hindu, Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) Dhakshinamoorthy said that every nine years once, a committee would be constituted as per G.O. no. 92 to revise the rental charges on buildings belonging to Corporation.

“Demanding the fee to be kept the same as the one they were paying since 2009 seems arbitrary. The rent charges were revised in 2018 on comparing the rates per square feet given by the Public Works Department and the rates in the market only,” he said.

Many shops have rental dues up to 40 months amounting in crores, he added. The highest outstanding rent of a sealed shop accounts to ₹2.74 crore while the least ₹9.16 lakh, stated an official data.

Despite announcing leases on a few sealed shops, we do not see interested takers for the spaces mainly due to the rental charges while we are losing a large chunk of our revenue to dues from the existing shops, said Mr Dhakshinamoorthy.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 1:32:23 am |