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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Delhi: Traders oppose MCDs Gaffar Market redevelopment plan

The shopkeepers are not willing to relocate to another place as it would affect their business after MCD proposed the idea of rebuilding the dilapidated structure based on a report by IIT Roorkee.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: July 28, 2021 11:41:03 am
The shop-owners at Gaffar Market have a lease agreement with the civic body for 99 years from 1976. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

The North Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) plans to redevelop the Gaffar Market, known for mobile phone shops and other electronic goods, in Karol Bagh and rehabilitate shopkeepers to a different location has received pushback from the traders.

The building, housing 62 shops on four floors, is in a dangerous condition, said standing committee head of the civic body Jogi Ram Jain. A structural audit report by IIT Roorkee suggested redeveloping the dilapidated building, he said. The shopkeepers would be given land at a nearby place until the reconstruction is completed and after that, they would be shifted back to the same place, he added.

The shopkeepers at Gaffar Market have a lease agreement with the civic body for 99 years from 1976. “We will ensure that they get the exact same size of the land and their lease agreement of 99 years is continued,” Jain said.

“I had met the shopkeepers and they said that there would be no action, we will meet them again and only after that if they are all ready for such a project, it would be undertaken,” he added.

The traders, meanwhile, are opposing the move saying that they are ready to fix the construction issues of the market with their money instead of relocating for some time which would lead to their businesses suffering.

Working committee member Mani Bhasin said, “We have a 99-year lease and it has been just 40 years and the building is already in a bad condition. It was built by them only. We can provide the fund and are ready to get it renovated but do not support redevelopment by builders.”

“It takes decades to make a bridge, so it will not take them any less than four to five years to rebuild the market. Where would we go in between, this will lead to business loss,” Bhasin added.

The president of the market Harish Chitkara said the shopkeepers were earlier given a notice to vacate the premises in three days. “We are ready to repair it but even temporary relocation will cause business loss. The same IIT report has said that the building worsened due to sub-standard material being used while construction. So why should traders suffer now,” he said.

The leader of the house Chail Bihari Goswami said that if any accident happens or the building collapses, the MCD would be blamed. “We are doing it in the interest of traders,” he said.

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