Manipur quake: Collapsed markets substandard, says official

Imphal, Jan 5 (IANS) Two market complexes run by women vendors in the Manipur capital that collapsed in Monday’s devastating earthquake were of “sub-standard” quality, an official said on Tuesday.

The earthquake damaged the Laxmi and New Market complexes, throwing hundreds of women vendors out of business. Police have now cordoned off the markets.

State chief secretary O. Nabakishore said there was evidence to show that construction of these marketing complexes was of “sub-standard” quality.

“We have brought these facts to the notice of the central government with the plea to foot the bills for repair work. A central team is likely to arrive in Imphal on January 7 to make an on-the-spot inquiry,” he said.

Works Minister T. Ratan Kumar, who inspected the damaged complexes on Tuesday, said the complexes were “unsafe for the people”, and nobody is being allowed to enter.

“Besides, the state PWD is not associated with the construction of these complexes. The Indian government had given fund directly to the National Building Constructions Corporation,” he said.

Thounaojam Chaoba, president of the BJP’s Manipur unit, said the damaged market complexes should be demolished, and new ones should be constructed.

“Now the authorities are trying to repair them, and it is a threat to hundreds of women vendors and customers. The dilapidated buildings may collapse any time.”

He said the collapse of market sheds elsewhere in the state should also be looked into without delay.

“Officials and the construction company should be booked,” he said.

BJP legislator Thongam Bisajit on Tuesday visited the quake epicentre, Tamenglong district, to talk to the victims.

“The central government is doing everything to help the victims. However, there is inordinate delay on the part of the state Congress government in doling out relief materials to the victims and this is condemnable,” Bisajit said.

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