Friday, Sep 23, 2022 12:15 [IST]
Last Update: Friday, Sep 23, 2022 06:44 [IST]
GANGTOK, : Gangtok Municipal Corporation today removed unauthorised occupants from Kanchenjunga Shopping Complex at Lal Bazaar here. The removal is part of decongestion drive initiated by the GMC to de-clutter Lal Bazaar. The decongestion drive was carried out by Gangtok mayor Nell Bahadur Chettri, deputy mayor Tshering Palden Bhutia, and officials from Urban Development department and GMC.
On Wednesday, when area MLA Arun Upreti inspected the shopping complex, the deputy mayor had requested for the removal of unauthorized and illegal occupants next day. During the decongestion drive on Thursday, deputy mayor Tshering Palden Bhutia stated, “We do not feel good while evacuating the unauthorized occupants but we as citizens and representative have to take care of our place. We feel due to unauthorized and illegal occupants, genuine and legal occupants operating business in the complex are facing problem and loss. The action being taken today is for the welfare of the business operating stakeholders of the complex along with the availing convenience to the customers visiting the complex. The issues pertaining to the allotment orders of the left out stakeholders will also be resolved in coordination with the department concerned on priority.”
Speaking with SIKKIM EXPRESS during the decongestion drive, mayor Nell Bahadur Chettri stated, “Around 2005-06, many beneficiaries were given allocation but some were left out. Those non-allotted were given occupancy under 'N- series'. The N- series are operating their business and are continuing; we have not removed them. Those occupying the public space, staircase premises including the drinking water facility corners and lift front spaces are being scanned. Action is being taken considering the inconvenience to the customers. We will initiate further action wherein we will take help of the state police and remove such unauthorized shops as well. Sikkimese people operating their business in unauthorized manner must cooperate. We plan to allocate the space to the left out first, once it is completed, we will definitely work towards facilitating legal space to the Sikkim Subject and COI holders and those operating business since years will be also taken care on priority.”
Such decongestion drive of is being carried out since 2019 by the GMC. Chettri further informed, “During the previous government, an amendment 7DD was made wherein the business operation in Lal Bazaar was facilitated to those having only voter ID as a legal document. They were issued licence to operate. These business operators have been operating business continuously on the basis of voter ID alone. The State government must cancel the 7DD amendment at the earliest so that the Sikkim Subject and COI holders are met with the opportunity to avail license to operate their business. Due to the 7DD amendment in place GMC is compelled to issue license. As GMC we are authorised to issue license to operate business but the allotment is met by the Urban Development Department. I have time and again requested the Urban Development department to issue allotment to the left out stakeholders so that the issue of decongestion, unauthorized occupancy is solved. In case due to any circumstances the UDD is unable to initiate action, we appeal the UDD to authorize GMC to issue the allotment orders, we are ready to discharge the responsibility of allotment facilitation to the left out too.”
All Sikkim Traders Association President Sangay Sherpa welcomed the step taken by GMC and urban Development department of evacuating the unauthorized and illegal occupants from the complex. He said, “It has been an issue since long and we as traders were constantly requesting our area MLA for solution. We express our gratitude towards MLA Arun Upreti for his support and prompt action too. With regards to 125 left out stakeholders who were supposed to avail allocation, we want the allotment to be extended to the left out like the way it was extended to the earlier ones. If the same procedure is followed we are ready to receive the allotment but if the allotments are with attached conditions and criteria we are reluctant.”