IIOJK in focus

Shopkeepers evicted in 2003 in Baramulla await accommodation

Srinagar: Shopkeepers, who were evicted from their businesses in Baramulla during a beautification drive in 2003, have complained of unfulfilled promises and obstruction by the officials.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the aggrieved shopkeepers said the officials of the Municipal Council (MC), Baramulla, have deprived them of their rightful accommodation in a new shopping complex constructed by the government.

The issue came to light when a notice issued by the Executive Officer of MC Baramulla in 2019 resurfaced. The notice had informed the displaced shopkeepers of plans to construct a double-storey shopping complex at the General Bus Stand in Baramulla to accommodate them.

As per the notice, the shopkeepers were temporarily relocated to sheds constructed by themselves at the back of the passenger shed.

“It has been proposed that you will also be accommodated in the shop line after receiving the Minimum Reserve Bid,” the notice read.

The Executive Officer MC Baramulla emphasised that discussions had been held with the shopkeepers and they had agreed to deposit the Minimum Reserve Bid.

“And to this effect you have to submit an affidavit, but till date you have failed to do so,” reads the notice issued in 2019.

Expressing their frustrations, one of the aggrieved shopkeepers said they received notices to vacate the shops, and were promised shops in the new shopping complex. “We agreed to these assurances that we would be accommodated. However, we are now being denied this accommodation,” the shopkeeper said.

According to the affected shopkeepers, they have already made payment to the department but have not yet been allocated shops, leading them to feel unjustly treated.

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