| A member of the association talks to reporters on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
April 9: Machkhowa vegetable vendors seemed unfazed by Gauhati High Court’s dismissal of their writ petition against the Guwahati Municipal Corporation’s (GMC) eviction drive on TR Phukan Road, as they announced their plans to operate from the same spot from tomorrow. They defiantly said they were ready to face any eventualities.
The Machkhowa Vegetable Retail Traders Development Association, which had gone on an indefinite strike on April 1, after the GMC had vacated the TR Phukan Road today ended their strike and announced that they would sit at the same market again and restart their business.
“Gauhati High Court’s order had clearly mentioned that the entire (stretch) of the TRP Road should be cleared, but the GMC cleared only 150 meters of the road, where we have been running our business for years. Surprisingly, the corporation has not cleared the rest of the road where some big businessmen are operating and blocking the road. So, we have decided that until the rest of the road is not cleared, we will continue to run our business. We are ready to face any kind of situation and the administration will be responsible for any untoward incident,” president of the association, Jaber Ali, said at a news conference.
Sources said there could be trouble in the busy market tomorrow as the GMC was unrelenting on its stand. Corporation officials said elaborate security arrangements would be made. “We had cleared the market in accordance with the Gauhati High court’s order, after the Supreme Court rejected their plea against the court order. If they block the road again, it will be in violation of the court order and we will take necessary action,” a GMC official said.
Acting on a PIL filed in 2004, Gauhati High Court had ordered shifting of the Machkhowa market to Paschim Boragaon in 2010. But, the traders had moved the Supreme Court challenging the order. On March 16, the apex court rejected the petition. The GMC evicted the market on April 1 and asked the traders to shift to Gorchuk Pamohi market, developed by the Assam Agricultural Marketing Board.
The traders association had moved the high court again as there was no mention of the board’s market. But the court rejected their plea and asked them to immediately vacate TR Phukan Road and shift to the new market.