With the Supreme Court’s order to immediately stop all commercial activities within the 500-meter periphery of the Taj Mahal, the shop owners in this area are uncertain about the future of their businesses.
There are about 500 odd restaurants, emporiums, budget hotels, cafes and other business outlets in the area that might be affected by the court order.
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Agra Development Authority (ADA) to prohibit commercial activities within the 500-meter periphery of the Taj Mahal.
Talking to news agency PTI, Charchit Gaur, vice chairman of ADA said, “We have begun the survey processing of the businesses and after the completion of the survey we will identify the businesses and act accordingly to the order of the Supreme Court.” The apex court’s order was in response to the application by the 71 shopkeepers, who had alleged that they were removed from near the western gate in the year 1993, whereas other commercial activities continued.
On Wednesday, locals and business owners organised a meeting to chalk out further plans.
Haji Tahir Uddin Tahir, a resident at the South Gate told PTI that around 40,000 to 50,000 people will be affected due to the order of the apex court as the workers of the shops, factories, and hotels in the Tajganj area will lose their jobs.
We will look for legal options available and unitedly fight for these people, he said.
Tahir added these shops have been running for many decades and have been set during the time of the Taj Mahal.
A shopkeeper, who runs his shop at Western Gate at Taj Mahal said we somehow managed to overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and began trying to run our businesses.
Now since Monday, we are not able to understand what to do. In my shop, there is a staff of seven people and we all would become unemployed as we would not have any other options to run our houses, the shopkeeper said.
Sunil Shrivastava, a shopkeeper whose store is located at the East Gate of the Taj Mahal said this order would affect the livelihoods of about 40,000 to 50,000 people who are dependent on these commercial activities.
“They would become unemployed and have no other option to run their houses,” he said.