KERALA

Merchants to go on the warpath

Special Correspondent

Seek amendment to rent control law



Allege misuse of law by owners of buildings

KVVES to stage demonstrations today



KOZHIKODE: Merchants under the banner of the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES) will stage demonstrations in front of the Secretariat and the Collectorates in the State on Thursday to press their demand for amendments to the rent control law which in their view “is, in its present form, a threat to the livelihood of the nearly 10 lakh merchants, their nearly 50 lakh employees and their families.”

At a press conference here on Wednesday, KVVES president T. Nasiruddin warned that the demonstrations would only be the first in a series of agitations that were going to be staged in the coming days.

“Exploiting a few loopholes in the existing Kerala Building Rent Control Act, 1954, merchants are being evicted from the buildings where they have been doing business for decades,” he alleged. The government should make changes in the law to protect the interests of merchants urgently.

Memorandum

A memorandum appealing to the government to change the law had been submitted to Forest Minister Benoy Viswom. The changes should be made in consultation with owners of the buildings, merchants and legal experts, he said.

Mr. Nasiruddin alleged that the provisions in the rent control Act which bestowed powers on the owners to ask merchants to move out of their building if it was needed for their own use were being misused.

Since attempts by merchants to get the provisions quashed in courts had not been successful so far, “a change in the Act has become necessary to protect the interest of thousands of merchants of the State who together contribute nearly 55 per cent of total tax earnings of the State,” the memorandum said.

Other amendments demanded by the KVVES included permission for merchants to carry out minor repairs on the buildings and arrange for water and electricity supply, a share for merchants and their employees in the compensation for land acquisition awarded to building owners as is being done in the case of national highways; appointment of a fair rent control authority to decide on the quantum of enhancement of rent for business premises and bringing the Wakf Board, temples and churches that construct commercial complexes also under the ambit of rent control Act.

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