Shimla, March 19
The Shimla Municipal Corporation has not collected rent from around 300-400 shops it owns in the city for the last three years.
“These shops owe MC around Rs 10 crore as per the revised rent rates decided in 2018,” said a source in the municipal corporation. Overall, the MC owns around 1,000 shops and stalls in the city. While most are paying rent as per the revised rates, these 300-400 shops, located mostly in the Ganj Bazaar and Sabji Mandi, have not yet agreed to the revised rentals.
MC Commissioner Ashish Kohli said the MC would form a committee, headed by the Mayor, to sort out the problem. “The committee will hold talks with the protesting shopkeepers to find a solution,” said Kohli.
“Rents were revised for MC properties in 2018. As a result, the rents of some of these shops increased significantly. The committee will look to rationalise the rents.”
As per sources, some shopkeepers had been paying as little as Rs 100 to Rs 300 per month for their shops prior to 2018. “For the record, an MC shop was recently auctioned for Rs 48,000 per month in the Sabji Mandi area. That gives a fair idea about the current market rent,” said an MC official.
“There’s a problem of sub-letting, too. While some are paying as little as Rs 2,000 annually to the MC, they have sublet the shops further at a much higher rates,” he said.
Shimla Beopar Mandal president Inderjit Singh said shopkeepers were ready to pay the increased rent, provided it was enhanced rationally. “The per square feet system that was introduced in 2018 will not work in the shops in Ganj Bazaar and Sabji Mandi. Because of lack of facilities, the business has reduced significantly in this area over the years. So, one needs to adopt a rational approach while increasing the rent here,” he said. — TNS