GUWAHATI, April 20 - The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has offered space to 230 vendors evicted from SS Road, Fancy Bazar in the GMC market complex.
After the eviction was carried out on Thursday following a High Court order, the Corporation said it was ready to accommodate the vendors on the mezzanine floor of the market complex. The mezzanine floor is a low storey between the ground floor and the first floor of the market complex.
�The vendors� association can come up for amicable distribution of the space amongst its members and continue their business in the market complex,� GMC Mayor Mrigen Sarania told The Assam Tribune.
�History has been scripted by clearing of SS Road of illegal encroachments that had continued at the main entrance of the Fancy Bazar market for the past 50 years. Though the road was occasionally cleared in the wake of any untoward incident or ahead of some important events, a permanent eviction drive never took place in the area,� he added.
The 250-metre stretch of the road has been cleared of all temporary stalls on both sides of the road and has been declared a �no vending zone�. On the other hand, the GMC has spent Rs 18 lakh on renovation of the mezzanine floor, making it suitable for the small vendors.
SS Road has been the bone of contention between the authorities and the traders for the past several decades. The traders doing business in the area since 1968 approached the court, which ordered the Corporation to make arrangements for suitable rehabilitation of the vendors, before carrying out the eviction drive.
Time and again, there have been allegations of illegal money collection from the market and a nexus between illegal syndicates, police and officials of GMC and DC office, to let the encroachment continue on both sides of SS Road.
�There have been several court cases over the issue in the past. The latest court order asked us to remove the encroachment by March 31. Accordingly, we gave a notice to the traders on March 27,� Sarania added.
Not happy with the decision of the authorities to shift them to the Fancy Bazar complex, several traders have complained that the place is not suitable for clothes business as people do not like to go inside the filthy and ill-maintained complex.
Though the GMC had a plan to settle the traders in the old jail complex, due to public protest and subsequent government plan to convert the jail land into a botanical garden, the vending zone was not created on the plot.