BHUBANESWAR: Hundreds of vendors of Saheed Nagar Haat, who were evicted from the market place for construction of a commercial-cum-housing complex in 2004, were up in arms with Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and construction company demanding rehabilitation in the market complex. The vendors locked up the main gate of the shopping mall, which was scheduled to be inaugurated on Friday and sat on a dharna in front of it.
"The BMC officials are hand in gloves with the company have been making us fool for the last eight years. When they took possession over the haat land to construct the commercial-cum-housing complex, they promised us that all vendors who had even a small shop in the haat will be rehabilitated in the complex. But it seems they have no such intention at all," said Debendra Pradhan, president of Saheed Nagar Haat Byabasayee Sangha.
"BMC had promised us to that the vendors will be rehabilitated first after which others will get shops. But they have distributed shops to others but we got no communication from them in the last eight years. we feel cheated," said Sudarshan Sahu another vendor.
The proposal to construct a commercial-cum-housing complex on 3.5 acre land of Saheed Nagar Haat was passed in BMC in 1996, for which agreement between BMC and Bhabani Construction Private Limited was held in 1998. Subsequently a total 547 vendors, who were doing business in the haat, were evicted with a promise to get place to do their business in the complex. As per the final revision of the agreement, BMC and the company will have 70 and 30 percent share respectively in the six lakh square feet complex.
But the vendors alleged that as per the agreement the company should have handed over the complex to BMC after constructing shops and podium for vendors. "We don't know for whose interest the BMC officer took possession over the half constructed complex. We suspect some vested interest group is acting against the vendors," said Balaram Panda, another vendor.
Bhubaneswar Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said, "As per the order of High Court vendors evicted from the Saheed Nagar Haat will be rehabilitated in the market place. The entire ground floor of the market complex spreading over 52,000 square feet area would be distributed among the genuine vendors in phased manner. But that does not mean that others cannot open shops in the complex."