20 shops sealed in Aftab market

Srinagar: A total of 20 shops were sealed in a market here on Wednesday, with officials claiming that they were built on land that had been occupied illegally.
The shopkeepers, however, said they were paying rent regularly to the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
Around 20 shops were sealed at the Aftab Market in Lal Chowk the commercial hub of Srinagar, officials said.
More than two kanals (10,880 sq ft) of prime land where these shops have been built were illegally occupied, they said.
Eviction notices were sent to the shopkeepers, but they failed to vacate the establishments, following which the action was taken, officials said.
Meanwhile, the shopkeepers held a protest and claimed they have been regularly paying rent to the SMC.
“We have shops here since 1970. We have all the supporting documents. These shops were constructed by the municipality in 1970. We have receipts of rent paid to the municipality, Tawseef Ahmad, a shopkeeper, told reporters.
He, however, said the sealing has nothing to do with the anti-encroachment drive being carried out by the administration.
We have paid our rent till March, how can they seal our shops, he asked.
Two days back, we got eviction notices, saying this was a private property. If that is the case, then where was this private person from 1970 till now, the shopkeeper said.

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