The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) issued eviction notices to shopkeepers at the furniture market that was gutted on Sunday. Even after receiving notice, the shopkeepers did not vacate but continued to operate from the illegal market.
A day after the fire broke out at the furniture market in Lakhnaur, some shopkeepers started building sheds on Monday. But the Mohali district administration was yet to begin probe into the incident. Incidentally, another illegal furniture market, around 300 metres away from the site of the fire, operated without checks from the authorities.
Sources at GMADA told Chandigarh Newsline that eviction notices were issued to shopkeepers at the furniture market and the adjoining marble markets about a year ago but the latter protested, refusing to leave the area.
“When notices were issued, the shopkeepers met senior officials. Since then, the market was being operated normally. The shopkeepers were told that the land belonged to GMADA but they said they needed some time to shift to other place,” said a GMADA official.
When asked about the notices, the president of the furniture market, Sunil Verma, told Chandigarh Newsline that they received the notices about a year ago but they met the GMADA officials and requested for time to relocate. “Cabinet Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu also assured us that he would make efforts to get land at other places. But as it was a long-drawn process to shift from the market, we requested the authorities for some time,” said Verma.
Replying to a question about building new sheds, Verma said the shopkeepers had made huge investments and many orders to complete. So, after clearing the debris, some shopkeepers have started building the temporary sheds so that work on making furniture could be resumed.
Tehsildar Sukhpinder Kaur said she would begin the inquiry on Tuesday as she was yet to get any written order from Deputy Commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra. When asked why another illegal market was being operated nearby, she said she would look into it during the probe.
Fire Officer Karamchand Sood, meanwhile, said they have issued notices to the shopkeepers but could not take action against them.