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Market back to square one

Nov. 27: The Kamrup (metro) district administration and Guwahati Municipal Corporation had used their “might” to evict the vegetable market from Tarun Ram Phukan Road at Machkhowa in April. But now two other roads adjacent to it have been literally “taken over” by trucks loading and unloading goods for Fancy Bazar traders.

This has led to two-wheeler drivers having a harrowing time on Kedar Road or Gala Patti Road to enter Fancy Bazar from MG Road or Machkhowa side. The roads are completely blocked off by mini trucks, tempos and handcarts, with traders loading and unloading their goods in violation of the administration’s directive in April to keep one side of the roads accessible for commuters.

“They have blocked the road like they own it,” said an angry motorist as he struggled to get past the mini trucks and the numerous handcarts offloading potatoes, onions and other goods on Kedar Road. Commuters taking the road to reach MG Road, too, are facing the similar problem.

In April, the district administration and corporation had evicted traders from the vegetable market in the area, following a 2010 Gauhati High Court order. Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri had announced the traders doing on Gala Patti Road and Kedar Road had been asked to keep one side open for commuters.

However, the chaos continues in spite of a few police constables being deployed to ensure that vegetable vendors do not crowd both sides.

“We have been asked to keep watch. But it is not possible to clear Gala Patti and Kedar Road because many traders have good relations with senior officials in the administration,” admitted a police constable, standing in front of ITA Pragjyoti, which is adjacent to the road.

On the other hand, Amal Das of Machkhowa Vegetable Retailers Association criticised the administration’s failure to keep the Gala Patti Road and Kedar Road accessible for commuters. “In the name of making the area less congested, the administration cleared only a 130-metre stretch of Tarun Ram Phukan Road and evicted small vegetable traders. But they failed to clear the two adjacent roads as they are occupied by influential traders,” Das told The Telegraph today.

“If the administration is really serious about the problem, why are not police and GMC taking action against those illegally blocking the roads?” asked Das.