The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has asked shopkeepers at the furniture market gutted in the October 21 fire to submit affidavit so that the place could be vacated at short notice. The 3.5-acre plot where the illegal furniture market was located belongs to GMADA
Shopkeepers met GMADA Chief Administrator (CA) Guneet Kaur Tej on Thursday and asked for time to shift the market. The meeting was held after GMADA stopped the shopkeepers from building sheds at the market on Wednesday.
Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, the president of the market, Sunil Verma, said they met the CA and sought time to relocate as it was not possible for them to go to another place and start business soon. “The GMADA officials did not give us any assurance. They wanted us to submit the affidavits so that whenever the GMADA needs, the shopkeepers would have to vacate the market with immediate effect. We demanded some time so that we could work till the end of the festive and marriage seasons,” he added.
On being asked whether they had submitted affidavits, Verma said the shopkeepers were ready to give the affidavits as they did not have any option, adding that they were identifying some land to set up the market at some other place on their own.
“The officers told us that GMADA cannot give us more time. We might have to shift in two to three months. We have seen some locations and we will soon start negotiations with the owners of the land,” he informed. So, have the shopkeepers stopped building sheds? Verma said that following the intervention of GMADA, they had stopped building sheds and will start work only after submitting affidavits,” said Verma.
The CA was not available for comment though. An officer from the regulatory branch said the GMADA cannot allow the shopkeepers to run an illegal market after the major fire which could have caused more damage.
As many as 19 shops were destroyed in the fire. Though nobody was injured, the shopkeepers claimed to have suffered a loss of nearly Rs 10 crore.