|The Iewduh market in Shillong. Picture by UB Photos
Shillong, July 23: The oldest and largest traditional market in Meghalaya’s state capital, , Iewduh, is in pathetic condition and the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) is now pushing to restore its lost glory.
Iewduh, meaning biggest market, is the hub of trade and commerce, which comes under the direct management of Hima Mylliem, one of the Khasi states.
Today, the KHADC chief executive member (CEM), Ardent M. Basaiawmoit, paid a surprise visit to the market place to get first-hand information on the condition of the vast market and the exploitation that farmers from various parts of the Khasi hills face when they came to Iewduh produce.
The agricultural produce, including potato, tomato and other vegetables, are brought to Iewduh and traders, mostly from the non-indigenous community, buy the goods.
The CEM first inspected a place occupied exclusively by tomato sellers who complained about the hardships they face since the place is full of filth and slush, including the foul smells emanating from toilets in the area.
The CEM also interacted with the farmers and traders who were selling and buying various perishable goods.
The farmers told the KHADC chief that they have to pay taxes of various rates to collectors authorised by Hima Mylliem on their produce, irrespective of the quantities.
“Besides paying tax, the middle men take 1kg from every 10kg of goods sold in the market,” the farmers said.
After seeing the condition of the market, the CEM promised to take stringent steps to address the problems.
“We have purposely visited this famous market to understand your problems. Do not worry, we will take all possible steps to remove these problems and we only need your co-operation with the council and the Hima Mylliem,” said Basaiawmoit.
He also expressed concern over the health of the farmers and traders who spent their whole day in the market in such unhygienic conditions.
The CEM also came down heavily on the presence of liquor shops in the market.
Basaiawmoit also visited the road at Motphran under Iewduh since vehicles parked on the PWD road were asked to pay a parking fee. According to the fee collectors, the Shillong Municipal Board was charging parking fees from the vehicles, including two-wheelers.
“How can a municipal board encroach into the council’s area and be involved in collecting parking fees from vehicles parking on the road here. The council take a call on this,” he asserted.
Later, talking to reporters, Basaiawmoit said he would soon convene a meeting between the council, syiem of Hima Mylliem on the problems of the vendors in the market. He expressed surprise that taxes were being collected from the vendors and marvelled at the poor condition of the market despite the huge revenue earned by Hima Mylliem from Iewduh.
“We will take all possible measures to revamp and restore the glory of Iewduh,” the KHADC chief said.