Srinagar, Feb 2: In a major relief to shopkeepers at Srinagar’s Aftab Market in Lal Chowk, the authorities on Thursday unsealed all 25 shops following the directions from higher authorities, day after they were sealed.
Shiraz Ahmad Mir, General Secretary of the local trade association, said that they were called by the tehsildar on Thursday morning and were told that their shops would be unsealed.
“We are thankful to authorities for unsealing our shops. We are also thankful to the Lieutenant Governor who intervened in the matter,” Mir said. “Now we are heaving a sigh of relief as a few hours ago we were asked to evict our shops.”
Another shopkeeper, Altaf Ahmad, said after being called to the tehsildar’s office at the DC Office here they were informed that they can continue with their shops.
“It was a misconception between the Srinagar Municipal Committee (SMC) and the revenue department,” Altaf said, adding, “We have been time and again saying that we are the tenants of the SMC and paying rent.”
Without the interference of LG Manoj Sinha, the unsealing of shops would not have been possible, he said. “We are thankful to all those who supported us.”
Meanwhile, an official privy to the development said that the decision was taken keeping in view the livelihood of the shopkeepers and the directions from the higher-ups.
“As of now, we got directions to unseal all 25 shops. I don’t have any further information about the issue,” the official said.
The district administration Srinagar on Wednesday evening sealed 25 shops in Aftab Market and said the land was illegally occupied.
The move was followed by shopkeepers staging a protest outside their sealed shops. They claimed they have been paying rent to the SMC for decades.
During the protest, the shopkeepers had said the move will render them and their families to starvation. (KNO)
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