KATHMANDU, May 29: Tenants of a commercial complex in Thamel, owned by Employees Provident Fund (EPF), are in dispute with the management after they were asked to bid for the shops they were renting for the last 27 years.
The complex, which has 26 units, houses travel agency, studios, and pashmina, metal craft, silver jewelry, t-shirt and carpet stores, among others.
According to the shop owners, many have been renting the units at the complex for the last 27 years on contract basis. "Earlier, our contracts would be renewed soon after expiry. But this time the management asked us to tender bids to rent shops without giving us prior notice," said Tharwa Chhembi Lama, owner of Sherpa Hotel, a fast food café.
The shop owners also said they were paying rents, which are raised by 10 percent every year, on time.
In defence, Kishor Malla, deputy chief officer of EPF, said, "The tender was called on May 4 following changes made to the rules and regulations on renting and selling government-owned property." As per the amendment, government-owned property can be leased and sold only through bidding.
Malla informed that around 115 businessmen have submitted their bids and results will be announced soon. He also said almost all tenants have tendered their bids.
However, tenants said that they already know the result and claimed only three existing tenants have been selected.
"We have been running our businesses here for the last 25 years. It will take time for us to move to a new location and start anew," said Bikash Man Shrestha, general secretary of Employees Provident Fund Traders Association, who also owns Picasso, adding, tenants will not leave the place at any cost and are ready to pay the rent as fixed by the EPF.