Sorry, no 'grey' dealings here

Published: Dec 15, 2011, 07:19 IST | Varun Singh |

Citing the nature of their business, Ashoka shopping complex refuses to sell, rent shops to victims of fire that broke out next door at Sara Sahara, Manish market

Citing the nature of their business, Ashoka shopping complex refuses to sell, rent shops to victims of fire that broke out next door at Sara Sahara, Manish market
As per the latest developments in the Sara Sahara mall and Manish market fire tragedy, it has been learnt that all those shop owners who lost their livelihood in the accidental fire on November 26 had immediately rushed to Ashoka shopping complex, located near the Mumbai police commissionerate, requesting its management to accommodate them. However, despite the fact that the shop owners were ready to pay twice the amount for securing the shops, members of Ashoka complex refused to consider their requests.

No room? Ashoka shopping complex near G T Hospital, Crawford Market
PIC/Shadab Khan

Considering its location, the shopping complex was an ideal place for the shop owners to operate from. Besides, its proximity to the CST station was one of several benefits.

"Shopkeepers from our area did approach the shopping centre. However, things didn't materialise," said a shop owner, whose shop was gutted in the fire.

The refusal
Confirming that the shop owners from Sara Sahara had approached them, Amin Sirguroh, secretary of Ashoka shopping complex, said, "Yes, they had approached us soon after the fire broke out. However, we had no option but to refuse them. They were ready to operate four to five stalls from a single office at the complex."

According to Ashoka complex members, the major reason for their refusal was their existing clientele that included, engineers, doctors and other white-collar professionals, who they said would find it difficult to do business alongside shopkeepers from Sara Sahara, as the latter mostly deal in grey market.

"The complex hosts 650 shops and most of them have been occupied. If we let the shop owners from Sara Sahara operate their businesses from here, it will lead to unnecessary chaos. Every shop will be handled by at least a group of six. Besides, if these shop owners start operating in grey, it will be against our policy. We do not hold any personal grudge against anyone, as we also know several of these shopkeepers. The decision taken by us is purely professional. Moreover, providing them with adequate sanitation is next to impossible," said Sirguroh.

According to real estate sources, investors having shops at the complex are also apprehensive about dealing with the shopkeepers from Sara Sahara.

"The outstation investors who wanted to sell or lease their shops were clearly told that they would be held responsible for the issues created by these shopkeepers," disclosed a source.

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