Assam: Around 22 shops demolished, 4 held


GUWAHATI, June 7, 2018: Around 22 shops on SS Road in Fancy Bazar have been demolished by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) on Wednesday.

The shops, housed in wood and roofing sheet structures, stood on private land and land owners were ordered to produce no-objection certificates and building permission.

The GMC served a notice to the shopkeepers on May 4, giving them a week to respond and threatened to demolish the "unauthorised structures" on non-compliance.

On Wednesday, GMC staff, accompanied by police and earthmovers, put up a notice dated May 18 and began demolishing the shops. A part of the boundary wall was torn down while demolishing the wooden structures. A minor scuffle between the vendors and the police took place.

Panbazar police apprehended four persons on Wednesday on charges of allegedly attacking GMC staff during the eviction drive. Biswajit Debnath from Lalganesh, Ashis Debnath from Kalapahar, Rahul Saha from Ulubari and Rajesh Jaiswal from Paltan Bazar were detained based on a complaint filed by GMC collector Loni Borpatra Gohain. They were booked under sections 143 (punishment to a member of an unlawful assembly) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duty) of IPC.

Shopkeeper Rahul Saha said, "Our shop was established more than 50 years ago by my father. After his death, I took over the shop. I support a mother, sister, wife and two children through my readymade garments shop. I employ two assistants who support their families. Other shopkeepers here face a similar situation. About a month ago, the GMC authorities notified this area as a no-vending zone. We were asked to move to the third floor of the Fancy Bazar GMC vegetables and fruits market. But this will rob us of our livelihood as no customer would come to the market due to the stench." Another vendor said the GMC used to collect daily revenue from them but stopped it seven years ago.

Others expressed ire at the GMC for not evicting street vendors from Urvashi complex or from the stretch between Sikh Temple and Lakhtokia on the same road.

Secretary of Assam Street Vendors Association, Chandan Goswami said, "This is an illegal move by the GMC. The vendors are thinking of moving the Supreme Court."

Source: The Telegraph

Featured image: The Telegraph