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Croydon, Jan 18, 2017: A van has been blocking the entrance of a West Croydon Hindu temple because of an alleged row over a rent increase for nearly four months now.

Since November 2 last year, the entrance to the 20-metre-long driveway of the Muththumari Amman temple, in Elmwood Road has been blocked by the white transit van.

According to the claims of Nagendram Seevaratnam, the founder and spiritual leader of the temple, this was deliberately done by his landlord after he asked him to look for an independent surveyor for a second opinion on how much rent should be payed for the building.

“The van is obstructing devotees entering for worship,” 79-year-old Mr Seevaratnam stated.”They are having to pay for parking elsewhere and it has closed the access even for emergency vehicles.”

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According to Mr Seevaratnam, the row started because he asked his landlord, the owner of another temple in Croydon, for an independent and impartial opinion on the building’s monthly rental cost after the landlord suggested an increase in the rent from £2,750 to £3,000 a month.

Mr Seevaratnam has agreed to pay the increase, but he still insists on having a surveyor come in and has also requested for repairs to the roof where there are a number of leaks, shower rooms which are damaged and electrical installations affected by water from the kitchen on the first floor.

The temple has lost an amount of money as a result of the obstruction, Mr Seevaratnam alleges, as devotees are not coming because of the inconvenient parking situation .

“This is a charity and I want to make sure I’m paying a right amount for the building’s value,” Mr Seevratanam said, “I have an obligation to do this as it’s the goddess’s money.

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The conditions above the temple are unpleasant, Mr Seevaratnam stated.

One of cracks in the toilet is being held together just by tape, only one of the two showers has access to hot water and there is no ventilation in the bathrooms, he added.

Mr Seevaratnam also mentioned he has written to the relevant authorities regarding the matter to see if they can intervene in what he calls the “neglect” of the building.

He stated, “The authorities may help the landlord in understanding his responsibility in providing rooms and facilities of at least a minimum standard in this country.”

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The landlord of the property has been approached multiple times by the advertiser but is yet to receive a response to the claims.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang



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