Will you move back to Kathmandu for places costing 7 cents per month? Yup, 7 cents mate!

download22 May 2015 1:45 PM AEST: A poor country but an expensive capital city, that’s what Nepalese people know the city of Kathmandu as! Renting a busy commercial address here can easily cost you over Rs 100,000 (approximately A$ 1122) per month.

But lo and behold! There are dozens of shop-owners in this expensive city who pay anywhere between 7 to 28 cents per month!

Yes, you read it right! That’s all they pay, a report published by a national daily says today.

That is not all. The report further makes an interesting revelation. These lucky entrepreneurs have been paying the same rent of Rs 6 (7 cents) to Rs 25 (28 cents) for over a hundred years.

As rest of the world reeled under the skyrocketing costs of modern day life, generations after generations of these lucky families have been paying rents that were the going rates a hundred years ago. Their rents have not revisited since the Rana Regime , the Rajdhani Dainik report claims.

These dirt-cheap addresses are owned by Guthi Sansthan (a traditional socio-economic organisation with religious overtones).

The tenants may not necessarily run businesses from these addresses. They rent them on to other people making astronomical profits out of it. (7 cents cost > A$ 1122 sales) The vernacular daily says Guthi  has not been able to do anything about it although attempts have been made to drive them out.

This adds another chapter to the underbelly of Kathmandu’s shady dealings ripping through financial institutions.

Hemraj Subedi of Guthi Sansthan told the daily that such shops are located in some key business districts of the city including at Dabali in Asan Bazaar and near the clock tower of Mangal Bazaar.

Interestingly, such tenants show papers from the Rana Era that apparently seem to dictate that the concerned families be given the rights to ‘enjoy’ these properties ‘generations after generations’.

For a Third World nation, Guthi Sansthan is a rich organisation too, may be richer than many of its counterparts in the First World even.

Som Prasad Pandey, a Communist Party of Nepal (UML) leader who is said to have studied the organisation closely, says it has a massive fund of 1.75 billion Nepalese rupees (approximately A$ 22.5 million). But he laments the fact that the fund was never put to any productive use.

Pandey said the fund cannot be regarded as ‘wealth’ because it makes no profits, “We can call it wealth only when it generates some profits.” “We can buy planes in the name of Guthi, or can open big hotels, we can use logos displaying religious faith,” he said.

Many of the buildings and temples owned by the Guthi organisation have been razed by the April 25 earthquake generating renewed interests in them at the highest levels of the government.

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