Tenants of shop rooms owned by the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) are on a warpath demanding rollback of, what they allege as, unreasonable and unaffordable hike in rent decided arbitrarily by the development authority.

They staged a dharna in front of the GCDA office at Kadavanthra raising this issue on Tuesday morning. Tenants of GCDA’s shops from nine locations in the city, including Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Marine Drive, Panampilly Nagar, Girinagar, and Manappattiparambu, participated in the protest.

“We have submitted a mass petition demanding a rollback of the unreasonable hike in rent to the GCDA chairman and secretary. We will not pay the hiked rent but the one we agreed to as per the rent agreement. Unless the GCDA make course correction we will take legal recourse as all of us possess valid rent agreements,” said Anu Chandrasekhar, secretary of the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium Lessees Association. GCDA authorities were not available for comment.

The rent agreement tenants had signed with the GCDA projected an annual hike of five per cent in rent, argued Mr. Chandrasekharan. However, the GCDA enforced almost 200 to 300 % hike in violation of the agreement, he alleged.

GCDA firm

GCDA Chairman C.N. Mohanan said that there was no going back on the revised rent rates as it was reached after nine-month-long consultations with tenants and taking into consideration their demands.

The rent has been revised only in cases where the existing per sq.ft rate was less than Rs. 30 and rates beyond that have been left untouched. It was decided after securing legal advice, he said.

Mr. Mohanan said that there had been instances in which a tenant who had taken the space for Rs. 5,400 per month had sublet it for Rs. 60,000. He alleged that almost 50% of the tenants were guilty of illegal sub-letting of the shops. Notices for eviction would be issued to all those who decline to pay the revised rent, he added.

Eviction notice will be issued to those who decline to pay the revised rent

C.N. Mohanan

GCDA Chairman

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