Shopkeepers displaced by Jehangir Chowk flyover left in lurch

AUQIB SALAM
Srinagar, Publish Date: Mar 19 2018 1:06AM | Updated Date: Mar 19 2018 1:06AM
Shopkeepers displaced by Jehangir Chowk flyover left in lurchFile Photo

It has been months since their shops were demolished to make way for Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover. But the shopkeepers affected by the demolition are yet to get shops built for them.

Reason: Shops meant for them at Jehangir complex constructed by the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) have been “illegally” occupied by some persons “protected” by court orders.

ERA – agency building the flyover - has constructed Jehangir Complex for the shopkeepers affected by the demolition. The complex housing 152 shops was handed over to Srinagar Municipal Corporation for the allotment to the bonafide persons whose cases were finalized by a High Level Committee (HLC).

However, the affected shopkeepers – who have been out of business for months together, said their shops were already occupied by others.

“We were told to shift goods to Rambagh complex as some people have illegally occupied shops meant for us at Jahangir complex,” said Abdul Rashid, whose two shops were demolished to make way for the flyover.

“Where will we go and who will feed our families? Why can’t authorities force the illegal occupants out of our shops?” asked Abdul Majeed.

Nearly a dozen shopkeepers have been asked to move to Rambagh complex temporarily. However, the affected shopkeepers said that the authorities were sleeping over the issue.

“On January 1, a Divisional Level Committee (DLC) meeting was held in which it was assured that we will be given the promised shops in our vicinity within a week but nothing has been done other than the meetings,” said Manzoor Ahmad.

Another affected shopkeeper demanded compensation for their business losses from the ERA. “We have been sitting idle from last four months and ERA should compensate us for our losses,” said Abdul Rehman.

However, officials said that they were trying their best to rid the shops of illegal occupants.

Satish Razdan, Director Kashmir JK ERA, said they are fighting cases in various courts against these illegal occupants. “We are currently working on a process to bring all these cases to High Court for one-time disposal so that the deserving shopkeepers get justice,” he said.

When asked about the demand for compensation, he said that they will have to approach the government first. “We will look into that (compensation) but our primary aim is rehabilitate these shopkeepers,” he said.

 

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