Friday, March 20, 2009

Shopkeepers of BDA complex stunned by salvo

Shopkeepers of BDA complex stunned by salvo
By S Lalitha, Bangalore, DH News Service:
A battle is brewing between the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and shopkeepers who have occupied its complexes in different parts of the City for decades.

This is in the wake of sudden notices ordering shopkeepers to vacate the premises by March 31 this year.

The notices have been despatched to shopowners at BDA complexes at R T Nagar, Indiranagar, Vijayanagar and Austin Town. While some have received the couriered notices just three days ago, some have received them a fortnight ago, leaving very little time on hand to make alternate plans.

BDA plans to demolish the buildings and transform them into bigger complexes. The lease agreements or licence agreements entered into by BDA with different shops specifies that a six-month notice period would be served. Many are now contemplating legal action against the BDA.

The oldest of these complexes is the one at Indiranagar, which was inaugurated in 1982. Leaving aside the government buildings, 84 shops occupy the ground and first floor premises. Restaurants, stationery shops, beer and wine shops.

M S Rehman, has been running a footwear shop here for 25 years. “I have been renewing my lease agreement every five years. I received the notice by courier asking me to vacate on March 13. The notice bears the date March 4. Expecting me to vacate my shop within 18 days is grossly unfair and I am not going to do so,” he said.
Dharnas in front of the BDA Commissioner’s office and the CM’s residence are in the offing, he added.

President of the Indiranagar BDA Shopping Complex Shopowners Welfare Association, Harish Begane, who runs a beer joint here, said the shopkeepers are contemplating legal action. “I have invested Rs 15 lakh on my shop and spent my life nurturing it. I just cannot quit and go,” he said. There has been no mention of compensation or rehabilitation, he added. “They did not bother to call us for talks or issue any previous notice in this connection,” Begane adds.

A copy of the notice, available with Deccan Herald, states that a decision to demolish the buildings was taken at a BDA board meeting on November 6, 2008 and approved by the Commissioner on January 31, 2009. The deadline for evacuating shopkeepers was specified as on March 31. Despite repeated attempts, BDA Commissioner Siddaiah, could not be reached for comments.


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