KOCHI: The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), which has leased over 700 shops in Kochi, will tighten the noose on traders who are defaulting on paying rent. GCDA chairman V Saleem, who took over the helm of the body a month ago said they have already served notices to the traders and will take necessary action if they failed to respond soon. “We will be forced to cancel their licenses,” Saleem said.
The GCDA had issued notices in the past but the traders brought up several reasons. “We are willing to consider some of their demands but don’t plan to go soft on the rent defaulters,” said Saleem. The GCDA had started its crackdown a few months ago during the tenure of former chairman C Mohanan.
According to Saleem, though over 700 traders are registered under the GCDA and are operating shops in their complexes, about 40 per cent have subleased the shops, which is illegal. “The tenant would sublet the room to another person for a higher amount, which is against the norms,” said Saleem.Currently, the shops are operational at the GCDA Shopping Complex at Marine Drive, Ambedkar stadium, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Panampilly Nagar among others.
Jaleel, member of the Kerala State Vyapara Vyavasayi Samithi, Ernakulam said that the traders are willing to cooperate with the GCDA. “However, the authority’s aim to brand all shop-owners as defaulters is unfair. The GCDA is serving notices to the traders who have formed partnerships or given the shop to family members, citing that the tenants have subleased the shops. We have expressed our strong disapproval,” he said.Though the GCDA had planned to hike the rent, the traders had sought some more time. “They have faced a huge setback owing to the recent floods. The GCDA had planned on a hike this year, but we have asked them to do it next year, which they have agreed to,” Jaleel said.