Bhubaneswar, Sept. 2: The Unit-II market remained closed today following a strike called by Central Market Association, which represents the permanent shop owners at the complex.
The shutdown at the main shopping centre of the city was in protest against alleged encroachment of space within the market by vendors, who number more than 500. However, the association withdrew the threat of closing down the market complex for an indefinite period following a discussion with mayor A.N. Jena and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra.
After the discussion, both sides agreed that of the 500-odd vendors in the market, only 146 would be given identity cards and allowed to operate. However, the association issued a release that said the agitation would resume unless the authorities took steps to do the needful within three days.
Shoppers, who were not aware of the shutdown, were surprised to find the market closed.
“They should find a solution to the problem. The number of vendors should be reduced and the place should be maintained properly,” said Ruchira Banerjee, who had come to shop at the market.
Central Market Association president Lalatendu Mohanty said: “Our demands include removal of encroachers from the Market Building premises, proper maintenance, deployment of police to maintain law and order, proper lighting, drinking water facility and adequate parking space.”
“If we lose our shops, we will lose our livelihood. The authorities should think about our relocation,” said Subrat Halder, a vendor.
Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said: “A joint committee to solve the issue will be chaired by the additional commissioner. Its members will include BMC officials, officials of traffic and general police. They will decide on the spots where the 146 vendors will be relocated within the market.”
Last month, the permanent traders had given seven days to the civic authorities to solve the issue of encroachment, but no action had been taken.
At present, the increased number of vendors makes the Market Building complex extremely congested, especially during weekends and festive occasions.