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Monday, September 20, 2021

Gurgaon’s Banjara market, known for affordable furniture, faces closure as demolition begins

Over 2,000 people, including shopkeepers and their families, stay in about 250 shanties spread over a 25-acre area.

Written by Pavneet Singh Chadha | Gurugram |
Updated: September 10, 2021 11:36:18 am
Over 2,000 people stay here in about 250 shanties. (Express Photos)

Banjara market, a popular destination among residents in Gurgaon and Delhi for affordable home decor and furniture items, could close after the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) said it has started a demolition drive to clear the land of encroachments. The market in sector 53 has come up over the last few years, set up by Gadiya Lahors, a nomadic community from Rajasthan, who moved to the city from Chittorgarh.

Over 2,000 people, including shopkeepers and their families, stay in about 250 shanties spread over a 25-acre area. Shopkeepers said a team of HSPV officials and police arrived last Friday and demolished some shanties, following which they approached authorities for assistance.

Ginni Pardhan, a shopkeeper, said, “We are from the lineage of Rajput king Maharana Pratap. We moved here from Chittorgarh about 15 years ago. Now, the administration wants us to move from here. Where will we go? We don’t even have documents like Aadhaar, we are nomads. We have requested officials to allot another space for us or stop the demolition. The market is quite popular among residents and serves the community.”

Shopkeepers said HSVP had started a similar demolition drive two years ago, but after some time, shopkeepers rebuilt the shanties and the demolished shops.

Sushila, who moved here from Chittorgarh 10 years ago, said, “We pay Rs 2,200 rent per month to people from nearby villages, who have leased us these shops, and for electricity. Already after Covid, we are struggling financially. Now, they are demolishing our house and shops. How will we survive?”

Sushila was among shopkeepers who submitted a letter to the district administration officials on Wednesday, requesting them to stop the demolition drive. “They have assured us that the demolition would stop,” she claimed.

However, Jitender Kumar, estate officer 2, HSVP, said: “The land in sector 53 is under the government and if there is encroachment on that land, they will be cleared. A demolition drive is continuing. We have told the shopkeepers several times to move elsewhere, but they don’t listen. They move for a short period and then return to the site. The land mafia is exploiting them. Due to these encroachments and squatters, there is traffic congestion on the sector roads. The site will be cleared and we will prepare a plan for its usage. In all demolition drives, a police team accompanies the officials.”

Arpita Nath, a working professional who had come to shop for a lamp on Wednesday, said reflected on the popularity of the market: “I have been shopping for furniture items from here since I moved to Gurgaon three years ago. The furniture is quite unique and easy on the pocket. I hope it is not shut and a solution is found.”

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