CONSIDERED TO be the second largest marble market after Delhi in the region, this marble market situated on the road stretching from Sarangpur to Dhanas has been operating illegally since 2004. The UT Administration has time and again made announcements to remove the market which is spread across 3 km, but nothing has happened.
Established in the 90s, the marble market was initially situated in Sector 51 with around 20-25 shops. The market remained there for 17 years after which it was shifted to Sector 52 for six-seven years. There it had around 85 marble shops.
However, in 2004, the entire market, now comprising 135 shops, was shifted to Sarangpur. The shop owners rented the land from the farmers for which they continue to pay a monthly rent.
Anand Gupta, president of the Marble Traders’ Welfare Association, says, “We are not sitting here illegally nor are we sitting on land acquired by the government. We have been paying a rent of Rs 1,000 per kanal to the zamindars of this area. If the administration wants to get this land vacated, they should allot some place to us where we could take this market to.”
“Since our market has been functional in different parts of the city for 30 years or so, the marble traders’ association has never agitated against the UT Administration but we have written a lot of letters to the administrator and the advisor, demanding a particular place for our market. We are ready to take any place in any corner of the city, we just need to run our business from a place where heavy trucks carrying the material could commute. We do not need a prime location to set up this market,” Gupta adds.
Sharing the problems the market faces, Gupta says that the major problem is of parking. Since the market is on the roadside, customers can’t afford to park their cars on the road. “Another thing is about the area. The marble market can only be situated on the outskirts of the city because heavy loaded trucks keep coming and going. We export our marbles to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and even Leh and Ladakh, and we import mainly from Gujarat and Rajasthan,” says the president of the Marble Traders’ Association.
Gupta says that despite the administration acquiring 85 acres at Maloya for setting up a bulk material market for many years, nothing has been done to relocate them.
Although the officials say the structures violated the Periphery Control Act, which stipulates that no business can be run on the agricultural land, the traders, under the banner of the Marble Traders’ Welfare Association, blame a lackadaisical attitude of the administration for their woes. The administration’s attempts to remove the encroachments have been thwarted by litigation.