Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday will consider a plea by business establishments challenging a notice issued by GCDA directing that the units inside the Kochi Jawaharlal Nehru International stadium complex be closed for a specific period for smooth conduct of the FIFA U-17 World Cup football tournament in October.
However, the court Saturday observed that the football's governing body, FIFA, had stipulated security norms and everyone had to comply with it. The petitioners too said that they were ready to cooperate with the security arrangements but sought adequate compensation in case their establishments were shut.
The court further said that the government was not proactive in ensuring that the stadium was free of the business establishments.
"The talks about the FIFA U-17 matches were held two years ago. So the shops should have been given at least 3 months' time to move out," the court said. It also asked the government how it planned to give a compensation given to each of the shop owners and whether the committee will be formed for it.
The court then posted the case for further hearing Monday.
The FIFA had earlier instructed the local organizers to ensure that shops and other business establishments operating in the stadium complex downed the shutters from September 15 till the end of the tournament as a security measure. However, the shop owners approached the Kerala High Court and obtained a stay against the order issued by the GCDA, which owns the stadium.
The GCDA had told the court that it was only a temporary suspension of the right of the tenants to use the premises. It said any delay in the physical handing over of possession to FIFA may imperil the actual conduct of the event itself. It also argued that the terms of the agreement with the petitioners clearly enable such an action. The GCDA said more than 50,000 people are likely to assemble in the stadium to watch the football matches.