2 decades on, Cheap Market shopkeepers await rehabilitation
SYED IMRAN ALI HAMDANI
Srinagar, June 3: In mid ‘90s government removed shops from a market, popularly known as Cheap Market, at Jehangir Chowk, with an assurance that the affected would be relocated. Around two decades on, the shopkeepers have been craving for relocation even as many shops are ready for the handover.
The dislocated shopkeepers, most of them without livelihood for years, said in 1994 the government started removing their shops for “security reasons”.
This resulted in resistance from, the dislocated lot who sought rehabilitation.
Finally, in 2002 the then National Conference government vide a Cabinet order, approved their rehabilitation at shopping complexes to be constructed at the same site where from they were dislocated.
“At first the government said 173 dislocated shopkeepers would be rehabilitated. But as the total number of affected traders was 217, the then H&UDD Minister Mohi-Ud-Din Shah finally assured that all would be relocated at the shopping complexes,” said Cheap Market Federation, President, Muhammad Latief Bangi.
The complex promise
Under Self Finance scheme, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation started work on the shopping complexes.
Bangi said a total of five building blocks were to be constructed at the cost of Rs 5.72 crore.
“But till now only three blocks have been constructed which house 154 shops,” the affected traders said.
Ironically even these shops haven’t been allotted to the affected.
“We had proposed that let the ready shops be allotted to the shopkeepers whose outlets were removed first. But this was trashed,” the Bangi said.
The dislocated traders claimed that they have paid around Rs 2 crore till date.
“We even suggested that a lucky draw of the ready shops be held so that many of our colleagues get rehabilitated while those who remain in the waiting would pool the pending dues,” Bangi said.
The five structures
While three buildings have been constructed, the work on two was stopped before it could start, Bangi said.
He said the SMC cancelled work tenders for the two buildings even before the work would be started.
He alleged the work was stopped because it would affect the business prospects of a private shopping complex constructed close to the site.
“The construction of the two complexes will shadow the mall constructed by them( blue eyed family), so under a shaddy deal the genuine construction has been shelved,” the erstwhile Cheap Market traders alleged.
Commissioner SMC Sheikh Mushtaq however had a different story to tell.
He said the civic body was “duty bound to rehabilitate the genuine people (shopkeepers).”
"All the genuine cases will be rehabilitated… But for now the problem is that several fake cases have piled up and so before rehabilitation it needs to be seen who is the genuine party,” Mushtaq said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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