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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The shop owners’ association at Market Building in Bhubaneswar resorted to bandh on Tuesday alleging non-fulfilment of their demands to evict street vendors. 

As per reports, the shop owners association has been demanding the eviction of the street vendors from the marker complex as those are causing problems in running usual business. However, the pleas fell on deaf ears and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) failed to sort out the issues despite multiple requests, alleged the striking members of the association.

To highlight their demand, the association members resorted to shutting down the market complex for an indefinite time today. 

The association members alleged that antisocial activities are on the rise with an increase in the number of vendors. Recently, two major cases of squabble were reported from the area.

"In addition to the beautification process by the civic body, our association had collected around Rs 20 lakh to further enhance the beauty of the market as people from different states and countries visit this place for shopping," said Pradumnya, the president of the association. 

He said following incidents of extortion and violent brawls in 2014, the then BMC Mayor had initiated a process to evict the vendors from the market space and had rehabilitated around 242 vendors in the vicinity.

"However, in the last one year, the number of street vendors has increased and the people who earlier used to illegally rent out spaces in the market to the vendors have become active. They are collecting Rs 500- 1000 per day from vendors by such allotment. With that illegal activities witnessed a rise," Pradyumna said.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the shop owners association, Sisir Panda said, "The spaces are illegally allotted on rent for which gangs are getting engaged in violent brawls to claim the pie. This is causing inconvenience to businesses as well as customers. Such incidents are getting frequent nowadays. If the issue is not sorted out at the earliest, we will not open shops," he said.

Meanwhile, BMC has invited the association members for a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issues in detail. 

It is pertinent to mention here that beautification of the Market Building area was carried out in 2010 by the BMC and street vendors were restricted entry inside the complex. However, several vendors have occupied the areas meant for the movement of pedestrians. The number of such vendors is increasing day by day.

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