Majid Kapra

KCCI asks admin to issue formal orders for transparency in eviction drive

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Shops sealed in Aftab Market reopen after go ahead from authorities

Srinagar: Claiming that there is no transparency in the ongoing eviction drive, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday urged the J&K administration to issue clear orders on its assurance that ordinary shopkeepers will not be evicted.

Addressing a press conference here a day after the administration sealed many shops at Aftab Market in the city center Lal Chowk as part of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, KCCI president, Sheikh Ashiq appealed to the administration to spare the poor from the ongoing eviction drive.

“There is no transparency in the eviction drive. We are not here to defend the land mafia but there should be clarity on who is an encroacher,” the KCCI president told the media.

“Heads of at least fifteen business organizations met me this morning and I cannot describe in words how anxious they were. They were not in a state to explain anything. But I assured them on behalf of the higher-ups (government) that nothing of the sort will happen in the future,” he said, adding that we appeal to the LG to issue a formal order that poor masses and small business establishments will not be touched.

He said many people have valid revenue documents but have been listed as encroachers.

“The government should resolve the problem. People who had valid lease documents till a few days ago are now illegal occupants. There is chaos and confusion about the whole issue,” he said.

KCCI president said the biz body does not support encroachers and in fact appeals to the government to take stringent action against them for violating the law. He, however, appealed to the administration to have pity on the poor who may have erected residential structures on small patches of the State land.

“We don’t support encroachers, in fact, want the government to act tough against chronic encroachers and land mafia, but at the same time urge the LG administration to have pity on the poor and spare them from the ongoing drive on a humanitarian basis,” Sheikh Ashiq added.

On the sealing and subsequent reopening of shops in Lal Chowk on Wednesday, Aashiq said the administration has assured the KCCI that shopkeepers would not be affected.

“We have been assured that shopkeepers will not be affected. We request the LG administration to issue transparent orders about it,” he added.

The KCCI also said a G20 event in Jammu and Kashmir will give a massive boost to the economy of the region.

“Our region will get a massive boost in terms of its economy, especially tourism,” KCCI president said.

He was responding to a question on how holding a G20 event in Kashmir will affect the place.

“Our handicrafts and tourism destinations will be highlighted on the global platform,” he added.

Aashiq said though no dates have been finalised for the G20 event in Kashmir, the KCCI will put its best foot forward whenever it happens. “We will be at the forefront.”

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has been making preparations to host one of the G20 events in May this year. Srinagar is likely to host one of the G20 events for which we are preparing in advance, officials said here.

The administration is sprucing up the city for the major event as all major roads and areas are being repaired.

Development works are going on in full swing in Srinagar city with a focus on completing the drainage and road projects.

Normally, no development works are undertaken during the winter months in Kashmir due to freezing temperatures, but the administration has made an exception this year due to the likelihood of Srinagar hosting a G20 event.

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