With deadline approaching, tenants vacate Shrungar Complex

With deadline approaching, tenants vacate Shrungar Complex

With deadline approaching, tenants vacate Shrungar Complex

Tenants at the iconic Shrungar Shopping Complex on Mahatma Gandhi Road were a busy lot on Tuesday. They were seen moving their belongings a day before the deadline set by the high court to vacate the shops.

The high court had recently ordered them to vacate the place by January 31. Most of the tenants have already shifted to other parts of the city.

The 48-year-old complex houses more than 60 shopping outlets like currency exchange centres, handicrafts stores, furnishing shops, Juice Junction, restaurants, small tea shops and Bookworm bookstore and Queen's restaurant.

Vijayakumar, the president of the Shrungar Shopkeepers' Association, said that they were aware that one day they had to vacate.

He will be shifting his mattress shop to the Gandhi Bazaar area. "I have taken a rented space in Gandhi Bazaar. We may lose a few customers. But the regular customers know where we are moving to," Vijayakumar said.

Mohammed Zabiulla, who had a small currency exchange shop in the complex, said: "Small shops here have requested the building owner to give some more time to vacate. If they do not agree, we will run our business on the footpath. Neither the court nor the owners have considered our requests so far. We have no other place to run our business. We will lose our regular customers."

Zabiulla, who stays in the BTM Layout, has been running his shop here for 40 years.
"I have been here for over 40 years and have been paying Rs 1,250 as monthly rent, he said.

Another shop owner Rasheed, who owns a gifts and variety items store, said: "We were running the business that my grandfather started in 1976. We are still searching a suitable place for our business."

Legal battle

In 1968, DNL Enterprises, a private firm, entered into a 32-year lease contract with the landowners and rented out the property. In 2000, the shopkeepers moved the court when the contract ended and the shopkeepers were asked to vacate as they were not recognised as tenants. However, DNL Enterprises managed to get a 10-year extension then.

In 2013, a judgement favouring the owner forced DNL's exit. Soon after, all the tenants pursued the case. Three of the tenants took the case to the Supreme Court, where they were granted an extension till June. Soon after, the high court ruled in the owner's favour and said barring those three tenants, the rest would have to vacate the premises by January 31.
According to one of the shop owners, the complex belongs to Thambuchetty family, which owns this land for nearly 80 years now. "Now, Vikram Thambuchetty of the family is looking after the complex," the shop owner said.

DH tried to contact Vikram Thambuchetty for comment, but he was not available.

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