‘We sold our properties to buy shops here, now we’re being forced to the streets’
SRINAGAR: A year after the relocation of general bus stand from Batamaloo, affected shopkeepers are yet to be rehabilitated.
Around 1,200 shopkeepers who were running businesses inside the stand were badly hit when the government shifted the Batamaloo bus stand in September 2017.
Though the affected shopkeepers have approached the government authority many times, they have been left high and dry.
General Secretary of the Iqbal Market, Batamaloo, traders’ union Muhammad Yaseen Guru said all shopkeepers are suffering from loss and some are vacating their businesses.
“Our business has been badly hit. Despite assurances, the authorities have taken no step to rehabilitate us,” he said. “We are urging the government to allow some traffic movement from Batamaloo stand which could bring back vibrancy to our business.”
“Till the time government will rehabilitate us, we only need a Sumo stand here so that there is a public moment inside the stand and we can run our businesses. But the authorities are not paying any heed towards our issues,” Guru said.
He said there were several Sumo stands in city centre like in Iqbal Park, Jahanger Chowk and TRC, “so why not in Batamaloo?” he asked. “Our business depends on public movement. After the shifting of bus stand in Parimpora, there is no public moment at this stand.”
A group of shopkeepers told Kashmir Reader that there are many shopkeepers who had employed at least five persons each and would earn their livelihood from the bustling Batamaloo market. But now many shopkeepers had fired many employees as they are suffering losses.
“We sold our properties to purchase shops from SDA when they said that these shops were located in and around the general bus stand. Some of us even have to adjust loans for them to Jammu and Kashmir Bank at high interest rates,” the shopkeepers said.
“The authorities are compelling us to come out on the streets as they are not fulfilling our demands. We suffer a lot, our businesses suffer a lot,” they further said.
“As of now, 15,000 of these people have been disengaged by the business units. In case corrective steps are not taken, the situation can go from bad to worse,” they said.