Kochi: It seems the financially-struggling Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is not ready to take lessons from experience.
Though the initial phase of its commercial complex project — at Angamaly, Thampanoor, Thiruvalla and Kozhikode — turned a white elephant, it went ahead with similar projects at 25 more places.
Now, most of the newly-opened ones have failed to attract customers, again adding to its financial burden.
Out of 314 shop spaces available on lease at its newly-built shopping complexes at Kannur, Payyannur, Kasargod, Neyyattinkara, Nedumangad, Kattakada and Kottarakkara, 108 have no takers.
“The issue is being taken up by the new managing director M. P. Dinesh. All these buildings are located in prime spots and hence have much potential in future. We’ll reduce rent and relax lease conditions and also begin an advertising campaign to find takers,” said a senior KSRTC officer.
The then LDF government launched the project in 2008 with the Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation (KTDFC) as its nodal agency. It built the four shopping complexes at a whopping cost of Rs 204 crore.
However, almost half the commercial spaces at these buildings are lying vacant, even after all these years.
The KTDFC even slashed the rent at the five-storey complex at Angamaly KSRTC bus depot from Rs 70 per square feet to Rs 40, in the hope of a change in fortunes.
“Spaces on the first, second, third and fourth levels are mostly lying vacant. The ground floor and fifth floor are, however, nearly full. Still, around 65, 000 sq ft of the total one lakh sq ft had no takers,” a source said.
So far it had invited bids eight times, and the last one was on January 29.
Out of 180 shops at various depots, 47 are lying vacant, sources said....