Srinagar, Oct 5: In a poignant reminder of unfulfilled promises, more than two decades have passed since over 300 shopkeepers along the historic IG road were displaced from their businesses, and to this day, they continue to await rehabilitation.
The Kashmir Traders Alliance (KTA) is now urging the Lieutenant Governor (LG) administration to intervene and provide justice to these affected businessmen who have endured years of hardship and uncertainty. According to KTA, President Aijaz Shahdhar the saga dates back to December 2002 when the then government, led by Mufti Sayeed, ordered the demolition of all shops along IG road, citing concerns that their presence defaced the area and left an unfavourable impression on passing tourists.
“At that time, shopkeepers were given assurances by the Deputy Chief Minister, Muzaffar Baig, that they would be rehabilitated. They were instructed to submit their registrations to the Custodian General, a directive that all affected shopkeepers promptly followed. The government’s commitment was clear: a complex would be constructed to facilitate their rehabilitation.”
“Fast forward to the present day, and the promises made in 2002 remain unfulfilled. A complex was indeed built, but shockingly, instead of allocating these shops to the displaced shopkeepers, they were sold to other individuals. Furthermore, property owners along IG Road have reconstructed shops on the premises, adding to the irony of the situation.” “Meanwhile, the 300 shopkeepers who were displaced almost two decades ago continue to live in limbo, their lives and livelihoods hanging in the balance,” Shahdhar said.
KTA President Aijaz Shahdhar expressed the frustration and disappointment of the affected community, stating, “We have pursued this issue with successive regimes, but regrettably, nothing substantive has been done to address our plight. This incident has shattered many families and disrupted numerous lives.”
Despite the years of inaction and broken promises, the Kashmir Traders Alliance remains hopeful and is now pinning their hopes on the LG administration, under the leadership of Manoj Sinha. They point to LG Manoj Sinha’s track record, which has demonstrated a commitment to addressing the grievances of those who have suffered injustices over extended periods.
“The plight of these 300 shopkeepers along IG road serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring challenges faced by displaced communities and the pressing need for the authorities to uphold their promises and provide justice to those who have been waiting for far too long.”
The Kashmir Traders Alliance’s call for intervention underscores the urgency of the situation and the hopes pinned on the LG administration to finally bring closure to this long standing issue.
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