The Telegraph
Saturday , September 29 , 2012
 
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MLA stalls eviction drive on Dimna Road
- Five illegal shops on divider razed

Five makeshift shops that had sprung up on Dimna Road divider faced the bulldozer during an anti-encroachment drive on Friday.

However, the drive, which began from Mango Chowk around 12.15pm for clearing structures that had illegally come up on the road divider, had to be stalled midway following objections by local legislator Banna Gupta, who reached the spot with his supporters.

Speaking to The Telegraph, deputy superintendent of police (traffic) R.M. Sinha, who led the crackdown, said: “The eviction drive had to be stopped after only five shops were razed following intervention by the legislator. Numerous illegal shops have mushroomed on the road divider, which often lead to mishaps.”

The 3.5km stretch — an important gateway to the steel city — plays host to vegetable vendors, potters, roadside food stalls, butchers, cowsheds et al. Some of the encroachers have stayed put for the past 15 years, doing brisk business.

The encroachers had disappeared briefly when the road was being widened in 2009-10, but came back in full force soon thereafter. With the shops and sheds eating into road space and heavy vehicles constantly plying on the narrow stretch, Dimna Road has become a mishap magnet.

In February last year, over 100 illegal shops on the divider were razed as part of a mop-up drive before National Games, but work was stalled due to a sudden fire. Around 110 makeshift stalls selling products of daily use and vegetables had been removed then.

However, MLA Gupta said that the district administration ought to rehabilitate the vendors and shift them elsewhere before starting anti-encroachment drives.

“There is no organised vegetable market in Mango. People get their daily requirements from these makeshift shops on the divider. The administration should first allot the vendors a place from where they can do business and then raze their shops,” said Gupta.

The Congress leader threatened to launch a violent agitation if the district administration carried on the eviction drive.