November 2, 2017
Image credit : Illustrative Image
Ooty: Shopkeepers and traders in Ooty went on a shutdown strike today demanding reduction in rent of shops owned by Ootacamund Municipality.
The one-day harthal called by the Ootacamund Town Merchants Association was to protest against the 50 per cent increase in rent for the around 1,750 shops, including the 1,500 in the municipal market here.
According to association sources, as against the normal practice of increasing rent by 15 per cent every three years, which would fetch the municipality s 2.75 crore per annum, the municipality increased the rent by 50 per cent.
The contention of officials was that the municipality had given the shops to vendors for low rents. They, in turn, sublet the shops for rents ranging between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 per month.
If the municipality decided to go for tender and fix the rent at these levels, it would get an additional Rs 10 crore annually, they added.
Private traders and shopkeepers also took part in the hartal, which gave tourists a tough time as even eateries were closed.
Traders also threatened to close the shops indefinitely if the officials failed to resolve the issue in a week.