Market traders slam BBMP for serving renewal notices

Trader bodies have slammed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for serving notices on shopkeepers of all markets run by it, asking them to renew their agreements by submitting original allotment letters and other documents. 

They said the move was nothing but an attempt by the cash-strapped Palike to “take back the original documents and mortgage the shops to raise loans.” At a meeting on Wednesday, the trader bodies of various Palike markets deliberated on the notices published by the Palike in newspapers on January 23, 2014, and later served on the shopkeepers.

As per the notices, shopkeepers have to renew their agreements by submitting documents such as original allotment letters, possession certificates, receipts of recently paid tax, recent photograph of applicant, photo identity card and copy of address proof.
 The notices further said that if the documents were not submitted to the office of the Assistant Revenue Officer (Markets) within seven days, the Palike would take action as per the rules. “In the last 40 years, the Palike did not ask even once to renew the agreements,” said R V Gopi, president, Vegetable and Fruit Wholesale Merchants’ Association, and member of Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI). “The move is nothing but an attempt by the cash-strapped Palike to take back the documents and hand them over to banks to raise loans.” 

Gopi claimed that it would be “very difficult” for the shopkeepers to produce all the documents, especially because the shops were allotted to their forefathers. Traders at the Russell Market maintain that many of their documents were destroyed in the fire in 2012. 

“The Palike collects the rent and issues the receipt. It should keep a record of all the documents,” Abdul Aziz, president of Public Utility Building Association, said. “If it wants to increase the rent, let it do that. We have no objection. The markets belong to the public and the BBMP is just an authority responsible for maintaining them.” 

The trader bodies have now asked the shopkeepers not to submit the documents to the Palike come what may. “We will not allow the BBMP to sell off the markets. There were at least 56 markets; of them, some have been closed down,” M Jagannath, president, City Market Merchants’ Association, said. “We urge the traders, who have not paid the rent, to pay the arrears right away lest the Palike takes it an excuse.” 

Jagannath, however, said that if the BBMP served an official notice on the traders for renewal, they would meet the government officials again and discuss the matter.  The trader bodies have formed a mega group — Bengaluru BBMP All Markets Shopkeepers’ Welfare Association — to jointly address the issues faced by the shopkeepers. DH News Service

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