Following the Madras High Court’s direction on more transparency relating to temples’ properties across Tamil Nadu, the managers of Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore have begun a drive to collect arrears of rent on the properties that belong to this temple.
This morning, one property alongside The Mylapore Club campus was shut down and sealed. A food hawking business was run from this space. Now, the hawker has set up shop on the wide pavement outside.
Similar actions were being undertaken through the day.
Talking to the Mylapore Times on Tuesday, the owner of a long-standing cloth store on North Mada Street that has been here for over seven decades said that they had received a rent arrears notice recently.
To bring the rent to a reasonable level from the substantially low rents that the temple had been collecting for several decades, the temple had a few years ago tripled the rent of the properties in and around the Mada Streets.
With a number of court cases cropping up in recent times on temples not paying attention to income from its properties, the officer of Sri Kapaleeswarar temple sent notices to the shops asking them to pay the rents that were due.
The shop owner said that they did pay some of the increased rent but there were still arrears that they had to pay. “The sudden increase in rent over the last few years created stress and the lockdown and the consequent slowdown in business has further accentuated our financial challenges.”
“My grandfather started this shop 70 years ago and then my father continued the business. We feel blessed to be selling sacred vastrams in this historical location and want to continue our ancestral business, though the increase in rent and the drive in collection of arrears coming in a period of lockdown is putting us under severe financial stress.”
Most of the shops in and around the Mada Streets have remained shut for well over a month. Even prior to that, with the entry of people into temples having been restricted from the last week of April, the business has been slow and the owners have been feeling the financial pinch.
- Report by S. Prabhu