Lulu Group chairman Yusuf Ali to help evicted Kochi woman shopowner

Thiruvananthapuram: Billionaire Non-Resident Keralite businessman M.A. Yusuf Ali has announced that he would settle the dues of a woman who was evicted by the Greater Cochin Development Corporation (GCDA) from her shop at Kochi for non-payment of rent.

Prasanna, 54, had to pay Rs 13,800 per month as rent but due to Covid and the footpath maintenance work, she was not able to open the shop and hence, not able to pay the rent.

The woman, who was supporting her mentally-challenged daughter using the returns from the street shop of the GCDA, had amassed rental dues following the closure of shops due to Covid-19.

Prasanna was served a notice of Rs 9 lakh as rent dues but didn’t have any means to pay this amount. GCDA officials had shut down the shop on Wednesday and Prasanna had conducted a sit-in dharna before the shop for the past four days.

Lulu group representative N.B.Swaraj with Prasanna in front of her shut down shop [IANS]

On hearing her misery, Yusuf Ali immediately deputed his Kochi office staff to meet the woman and promised her help.

The amount of Rs 9 lakh as rent arrears would be paid by the Lulu Group on Monday. An additional amount of Rs 2 lakh would be handed over to Prasanna to help her run the street shop where she was selling refreshments and juices.

“When notice was served on me, I did not have any means other than thinking about suicide. I don’t have Rs 9,000 with me, how can I pay Rs 9 lakh. I and my family thank Yusuf Ali saheb wholeheartedly for this benevolence showered on us. He was literally God sent to us,” Prasanna told IANS.

Talking to IANS, Yusuf Ali said: “I came to know of the woman’s problems through media and I directed our office at Kochi to pay the arrears today itself. But being a Sunday, the GCDA office was closed, and on Monday morning itself, the amount will be paid and rent arrears settled. We will also be handing over Rs 2 lakh to her to restart her shop and buy necessary items for doing business.”

The Lulu group was recently in the news for paying blood money of Rs 1 crore to save a Thrissur native in Abu Dhabi where he was sentenced to death after a Sudanese child was accidentally killed after the vehicle he was driving hit him. Becks Krishnan was on the death row after the accidental killing of the Sudanese boy in 2012.