The Mishti Hub off National Highway 2 in Bardhaman will soon buzz back to life.
Inaugurated in 2017 by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, it has been lying unused for several years.
There are 25 shops at the hub and the owners have been asked to re-open them from May 23.
During her recent interaction with officials of Purba Bardhaman district from Nabanna on April 28, Mamata expressed her anguish over the state of the hub.
On Friday, a team of officials of the district, led by district magistrate Priyanka Singla and including senior police officers, met representatives of the sweetmeat industry in Bardhaman to finalise a blueprint for re-opening the hub.
“All the owners have been asked to re-open their shops from May 23. The government will take care of some of their demands to see that there is enough footfall,” said a senior state government official.
Responding to complaints by a section of the traders, the government has decided that from May 23, all state-run buses of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation and the South Bengal State Transport Corporation will stop at the Mishti Hub, skipping the earlier stop at Shaktigarh, which has a cluster of shops selling lyangcha and mihidana.
While interacting with the district magistrate, Mamata said: “If the Mishti Hub is not made operational, then please hand over the shops to self-help groups.”
Senior officials present at the meeting said the government would review the situation a month later and if some shop owners were found to be reluctant to continue with their business, their stalls would be handed to self-help groups.
Spread across 27 cottahs off NH-2, the double-storeyed Mishti Hub was built at a cost of over Rs 4.5 crore to house 25 shops, a convention hall and a space for setting up a laboratory to develop methods to preserve sweets.
Within months of the inauguration, several traders shut their stalls because of poor footfall.
“The location disadvantage was the biggest challenge,” said Debaditya Chakrabarty, a trader from Bardhaman.
Within the next few years almost all traders downed their shutters.
“Hopefully things will look up now that buses will stop at the hub,” said Pramod Singh, secretary of the Bardhaman Mihidana Sitabhog Welfare Association.