December 20, 2021 4:53:23 am
Following a crackdown on illegal trade in spare automobile parts, around 50 owners of auto-parts shops at Meerut’s Sotiganj Market have sought local district administration’s permission to reopen their shops to sell garments, shoes, sweets or groceries.
“Around 50 people have sought our permission to reopen their shops for selling items like shoes, sweets etc. They have been told to submit affidavits promising not to indulge in the sale or purchase of stolen automobile parts. Eight of them have been allowed to reopen their shops, while applications of others are under consideration,” said Assistant Superintendent of Police (Meerut) Suraj Rai.
Hub for stolen vehicles
For years now, Sotiganj Market has been known to be the place where vehicles stolen from western Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are brought to be dismantled. Officials said highly skilled mechanics can open up a motorcycle in merely 15 minutes, and a car in less than an hour.
Since July, charges have been slapped against more than 50 people, two of the biggest accused have been put in jail, and nearly 100 shops sent fresh notices for the sale of stolen vehicles’ parts.
“Our market has earned a bad name because of the nefarious activities of a handful of people… Those involved in criminal activities in the garb of selling auto parts should be dealt with firmly,” said Murasaleen, general secretary of the local traders’ association.
Shadab, who sought permission to open a grocery store in Sotiganj, said the government’s crackdown seemed more political. “Our family has been in the auto parts business for generations, and now suddenly we have been told to change our business. The Yogi Adityanath government is in power in Uttar Pradesh since 2017 but the issue has been raked up in the last leg of the tenure,” he said.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the BJP government in the state for its crackdown on the illegal trade of auto parts, saying that it showed the Adityanath government’s successful drive for improving the law and order situation in the state.
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