UWTC reopens, dispute lingers

KATHMANDU: United World Trade Center (UWTC), the largest mall in Kathmandu, opened today after three days of closure, but the dispute between shopkeepers and the management is not settled yet. The shopkeepers in the mall had closed their shops on Thursday demanding strong security arrangements.

“They opened their shops after we guaranteed them security,” said Sakunta Lal Hirachan, chief executive officer of the mall. The traders’ union of UWTC had called an indefinite closure of the mall after a mobile phone shop in the Mall was burgled last week.

Clarifying that it was not a security issue but something

else, Hirachan said, “It was not about security. When we asked some shop owners to pay their pending rent, other shopkeepers forced the closure in the name of security.”

He accused Sanjay Adhikari, who operates a Raymond showroom on the first

floor of the mall, of misleading shopkeepers. “Sanjaya and some other three or four

shopkeepers used the theft issue to mislead people and

shut down the mall,” Hirachan said adding that Sanjay has to pay Rs 6,516,184 in rent to the UWTC management. The management has called the agitating parties to come to the negotiation table.

Meanwhile, mall member Himal Gurung, who opened his restaurant — De Valley —

was manhandled by the

agitating group. “They broke

tables and chairs in my

restaurant and mistreated workers,” Gurung said adding that he had refused to support their protest as he did not see sufficient cause in their demand. “I think it is a conspiracy by some persons,” Gurung said.

The management has filed a case against the thieves

based on proof recorded with CC TV camera. “We have identified the thieves and police is searching for them,” said Hirachan. He said he hoped the police would catch them soon. UWTC has 24-hour CC TV camera monitoring system apart from security guards.

UWTC was opened on April 14, 2007 with an investment of Rs 500 million. It is spread over 11 ropanis of land leased from Tribhuvan University for 30 years. The mall has 220 shops.