SMC orders evacuations at rehabilitation complex

SMC orders evacuations at rehabilitation complex

Shopkeepers complain the municipal body is going back on its previous order

Srinagar: Shopkeepers at Rehabilitation complex, Jahangir Chowk have been asked by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to evacuate their shops despite holding possession of the 57 shop for two years.
SMC has issued a notice ordering the shopkeepers to vacate the spaces they were illegally occupying them. The municipal body said that shopkeepers will be given new shops on their relocation.
Shopkeepers questioned as to why the SMC was in “deep sleep” till date?
Ghulam Mohideen, president of central market, said, “Firstly we were not willing to come in this complex as there is no market, but there was no other option, so they (SMC) rehabilitated us in this complex. At that time they only give us 24 hours to shift here.”
Two years ago, division commissioner, along with the SDM and SMC commissioner allotted us these shops. When we asked them the basis on which they were allotting us shops, the authorities said ‘your federation will look into that. We only have to see that shop has been given to the right person’,” he said.
The president said that their federation allotted the shops on the basis of the places shop-owners held in the old complex. “Like if someone had a shop in first floor, here too they get shop in first floor.”
Shopkeepers say that they have been asking the SMC for “confirmation” of allotments, but the body has not responded. “We have a proper proof that shops were allotted to us at that time,” said Irfan Ahmad, one of the shopkeepers. “The authority doesn’t see their old records.”
The traders also said that they approached the SMC about the order, but they were told “its divisional commission’s order.” The SMC notice reads the authorities have “observed that some persons have illegally occupied 32 shops in the rehabilitation complex without any authority”.
“Instead of 41 A, I occupied shop number 41,” said Muzafar Ahmad, another shopkeeper. “I didn’t have any issue to change my shop (if communicated in time). But I renovated this shop, I have costumers here, how is it now possible for me. The authorities change anytime without regard for the previous decision?”
Syed Nasir, chief revenue officer of Srinagar Municipal Corporation told Kashmir Reader that one month ago, Economic Reconstruction Agency handed over the shops to SMC and “give us the list of the shopkeepers where we find some shopkeepers are illegal occupants”.

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