TRAL: Traders in Tral town of south Kashmir on Wednesday staged a protest demanding rehabilitation of shopkeepers whose shops are being dismantled under a road-widening programme launched by the local authorities. They said the former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had promised the shopkeepers that they would be properly rehabilitated should their shops be removed.
The traders said the sub-divisional magistrate office has issued notices to the shopkeepers located in and around the bus stand to raze their shops down for widening Tral- Aripal road.
The traders said that the shops marked for dismantling are about 60 years old and the shopkeepers needed to be rehabilitated. The local residents complain of acute traffic jamming in the bus stand, which is usually encroached by shopkeepers and vendors.
The shopkeepers claimed that the shops located between old and new bus stand have been marked for razing down to increase the capacity of the bus stand.
“We have given consent for bulldozing these shops on the condition that we would be provided alternate land for the construction of shops at some other place,” said Ashfaq Ahmad Kar, President Trade Union Tral, adding that civil society in Tral had proposed the rehabilitation of the shopkeepers which was accepted by former Chief Minister.
Sub-divisional Magistrate Tral, Riyaz Ahmad Malik told Kashmir Reader that the shops have been constructed illegally and we have ordered to pull them down.
“We are going to widen Tral-Aripal road and these shops, constructed on state land, need to be razed down,” said the SDM, adding that there was no project of merging two bus stands which the shopkeepers claimed.
Replying to the query raised by shopkeepers that the matter was discussed with former Chief Minister, The SDM said that if the shopkeepers have any document in which they had been assured rehabilitation he would take up the matter with higher authorities.