MCC demolishes Surathkal Old Market-Traders against MLA Bava’s Apathy
Mangaluru: The battle between the merchants at the Surathkal Old Market and Mangaluru City Corporation ended today, with the merchants losing the battle, and MCC winning, and going ahead with the demolish process starting today, where nearly 200 shops were razed to ground using heavy JCB/Earth moving machinery, with full security provided by a huge battalion of police.
Earlier Mangaluru City Corporation Commissioner Mohammed Nazeer had said that the Surathkal market will be closed at the earliest, to pave way for the construction the new market. A press release by the Commissioner stated that the temporary and the old markets will be demolished in Surathkal to construct a new market. In the meantime the MCC had constructed a temporary market to accommodate the traders from these old markets. As per the direction of the High Court, the work on new market has to be completed within two years, said the commissioner.
But the traders were reluctant to move from this location, and were against Mangaluru North MLA Mohiuddin Bava’s proposal to build a new mandi. The proposal for the mandi costing Rs 120 crore at Iddya, Surathkal was proposed by Bava had been passed by the state cabinet. Surathkal New Market Merchants Association President Umar Farooq during a press meet had said that they were opposed to the idea of shifting to a new place in Surathkal when it is better to upgrade the current mandi which lacks basic facilities.
Farooq had said that when the merchants were evicted from the old mandi 17 years ago, they shifted to the current one after a time-consuming auction and allotment process. “It took us five years to do good business and break-even,” he added. Now the new Surathkal mandi is planned to be built in the same land as the old one. “Currently temporary structures are being constructed at Iddya playground which simply cannot accommodate 150 plus merchants and 35 fisher women,” Farooq said.
It is learnt that the current stalls are so congested that no more than two people can sit inside without enough place to goods in good display. It lacks proper ventilation and funds from SRC scheme, meant for the development of basic infrastructure, is being used for building the temporary structure at Iddya. A writ petition was filed in the High Court by a few vendors against the State of Karnataka, Deputy Commissioner, MCC and MUDA, and an appeal was made not to shift the old market, new market and MUDA market to the public playground in Iddya village, Surathkal.
But in its order passed on April 24, 2017, the Karnataka High Court said that the reconstruction of the old market was necessary (as it was dilapidated) within two years and the existing vendors should be shifted to the reconstructed market. The temporary structure in the playground should be demolished and the playground should be restored to its original shape the court had ruled. But the traders who didn’t wanted to shift from the present location had argued that the temporary structures constructed now are not trader and customer friendly as they lacked ventilation and enough space for both traders and customers to move around.The structures lacked enough space for displaying commodities.
And regarding this the Surathkal Hosa Marukatte Vyaparastara Sangha has been protesting against MLA Bava and also against MCC decision in shifting the market They had said that in case if there was a power failure in the proposed temporary market the safety of women and other customers would be in peril. The temporary market being built lacked enough setback for fire engines to move. The ground spread over about six acres is a “gomala land” use of which for other purposes is restricted. They said that Surathkal does not need mall like modern complex to which common customers would hesitate to approach.
The traders even argued that the MLA or the city corporation has not made it clear whether all the relocated traders would be housed again in the new market complex once it was ready. Even if they were housed again the traders would not be able to bear the escalated deposit and rents in the modern complex. They insisted that the MLA should focus first on developing other infrastructure facilities in Surathkal which lacked a government pre-university college and government hospital-even the town does not have a proper bus stand- and also that the MLA should first develop the MRPL-Kana Road as a smooth and wide one.
But unfortunately no matter what, the traders grievances and pleas were rejected the MCC, and it acted as per High Court order, and this morning went on a razing spree where all the shops in the old market were torn down one by one- and the traders were seen picking up their belongings and loading in vehicles as fast as they could could, before the JCB driver goes on a rampage spree. MLA Moideen Bava who was at the scene this morning before leaving to Bengaluru, speaking to Team said, “We had made several requests to the traders to vacate this place, and they wouldn’t agree. I am sorry to note that they had to face such a situation now. We had promised to house all these traders in the new complex once it gets completed-but some had spread rumors that I had allotted many shops to people whom I know, which is not true. “
MCC -Surathkal Zonal Commissioner Ravishanker speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “MCC had given the traders to vacate this place by 21 March, but they were all stubborn and quite reluctant to move. They were all given these shops on a 12 year lease, and the lease had expired. So as per the order of MCC Commissioner Mohammed Nazeer we took the action today, with the help of a large group of police- and the whole demolishing process will be finished by this evening. Regarding the traders getting the space in the new market complex will be finalized soon, until then they can do their business in the temporary place that we have provided them nearby. We can’t please the traders as per their demands, they have to cooperate with us, when development is planned”