Annoyed over ‘space’ shortage at Panchayat market, shopkeepers resist move

Stalemate over relocation of Indira market
Report by: 
3 Apr 2017

A major face off  is brewing in the North Andaman region over allotment of news commercial premises for occupants of Indira Market area at Mayabunder. The major plan of the District Administration of the North and Middle Andaman region to develop a Recreational Centre at Mayabunder bazaar after shifting the present Indira Market to the newly constructed Panchayat market building is likely to hit the roadblock as occupants are opposed to the move following shortage of space in the newly developed premises. Officials of the District Administration and the Panchayat authorities are, however, holding parleys with the shopkeepers to work out a solution for the deadlock.
According to reports, a major fire mishap in the 80s destroyed several houses and shops in the present Indira Market area. The area was subsequently developed as a make-shift market for the shopkeepers who lost their commercial spaces in the fire accident. Presently more than 50 traders run their shops in the Indira Market, but the Panchayat market where the District Administration proposes to relocate the existing shopkeepers has capacity to accommodate just around 20 shops. Moreover, the shopkeepers are also upset over the location of the Panchayat market which is located at a far distance from the main market place.
“After more than three decades, the administration constructed the Panchayat market to accommodate the shopkeepers who lost their shops in the fire mishap. However, the newly constructed building is short of adequate space and cannot accommodate all the existing shopkeepers of Indira market. The Panchayat market has capacity of only 24 shops whereas more than 50 traders are presently engaged in commercial activities at Indira Market. The administration has no definite plan on how to guarantee the livelihood of all the shopkeepers of Indira Market and the basis of which the allotments will be made.
On our queries about what will happen to the shopkeepers who couldn’t be accommodated in the Panchayat  market building, the government officers have no answer. We won’t shift to the Panchayat market until the administration accedes to our demands to accommodate all the shopkeepers of the Indira market and undertake necessary modification of the Panchayat building so that it gains prominence as it is vital for our business,” said some shopkeepers speaking to this correspondent.
An official of Gram Panchayat, Mayabunder, on conditions of anonymity, informed that the Panchayat authorities are trying their best to convince the shopkeepers of Indira Market to shift to the Panchayat Market. “The new constructed Panchayat Market has provisions to be developed into a double-storied building in future. Once such proposal is approved, all the existing shopkeepers of Indira Market will be accommodated in the Panchayat building. Officials from the North Andaman Construction Division, Mayabunder have also inspected the Panchayat building in this regard. Shifting of the Indira Market is imperative for execution of a major recreational project at Mayabunder bazaar, which is the headquarter region of the North and Middle Andaman Districts and the senior officials of the district administration are working strenuously to work out a solution,” the official added.