| Xoni market on Thursday. Telegraph picture |
Oct. 20: Traders of Xoni Mandir market in Bamunimaidam downed their shutters today to resolve the problem about parting with some portions of their land, to make way for a proposed road through the market.
The traders said a few days back, officials of North East Frontier Railway (NFR) had asked them to readjust the positions of their shops so that a road which was there a decade back could be reopened.
Many shops in the market have encroached on parts of the road.
The traders were tense, as they received news from some unidentified sources that NF Railway would evict the market and they held a meeting this morning to discuss the issue. A delegation of traders later met officials of NF Railway and came to know that there had been no such plans to evict the market.
We met officials of NF Railway and they clarified that they did not have any plans to evict our market. But we were told that the traders, who have constructed shops on the road should demolish parts of their shops to reopen the road, Prabir Bhoumik, secretary of Xoni Mandir Bazar Committee, said.
There are more than 200 shops in the market.
A trader said a road passed through the market a decade ago, which was used by the trucks carrying supplies from BG godown.
However, the road was abandoned later and traders started encroaching on it. Many of the shops are now partly on the road. The traders, most of whom had been in the market for a decade now were in a panic, as some people identifying themselves as officials of NF Railway told them a few days back that the market would be evicted for illegally occupying railway land, he said.
Jayanta Sarma, public relations officer of NF Railway, said the railway gave permission to traders to set up their business in certain areas, but they have to pay a certain amount of tax regularly for this provision.
If NF Railway certifies somebody to set up business on its land then there is no question of evicting them, Sarma said.
He said the markets in Bamunimaidam are illegally set up on the land of the railway department and he was not certain whether any order has been issued to evict them.
However, the railway department follows a procedure to evict all illegal settlers from its land, he added.