BENGALURU: A couple of days ago bulldozers arrived at the Meenakshi Koil Street in Shivajinagar, forcing 23 shop owners to vacate their premises to make way for construction of one segment of Metro’s underground corridor.
The affected shop owners are being relocated to 23 brand new shops built by BMRCL on nearby BBMP land and the shifting process began on Tuesday. But the owners are a disgruntled lot as they have been at the previous location for the last 58 years. Furniture shops dominate those being relocated with a couple of mattress and bedding stores, and even an aquarium shop, now relocating to Park Road.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) intimated the shops, which run on BBMP property, in January this year that they had to relocate to make way for Metro.
R Zaid Khan, ‘Royal Cane’ furniture store owner, had completed most of his shifting with a few customers even coming over to examine products in his new outlet. Khan said BMRCL had completely let them down.
“They promised to pay us each Rs 3.68 lakh earlier for those having VAT paid documents and now it appears that we would only be paid a shifting fee of Rs 35,000. The BBMP Joint Commissioner (East Zone) states that we do not have the rental agreement since 2015, which is mandatory, and so it makes us all illegal occupants. Corporation staff collected the annual rent of Rs 3,500 from us, but never gave us the receipt. It is their mistake,” Khan insists.
Aslam Pasha, a furniture shop owner, is pretty upset. He said, “The shops newly allocated to us are much smaller. In place of 200 sqft earlier, my new shop is only 90 sqft. I feel like as if we have all been sent to the footpath.”
Abdul Subhan, owner of Shop No. 1, believes business will take a beating here as the MK Street is used by numerous shoppers daily as it leads to Commercial Street. “We need to be here for at least 60 months as that is the deadline given by BMRCL to the contractor to complete Metro works,” he said.
BMRCL Chief Public Relations Officer, BL Yashwanth Chavan told The New Indian Express, “They are all BBMP shops. Only shifting allowance of Rs 35,000 per shop has been paid.” Despite many attempts BBMP’s Ravindra could not be reached.