Digvijaya Singh
Digvijaya Singh
File pic

BHOPAL: The former chief minister Digvijaya Singh has extended his support to the traders in Jawahar Chowk area who are protesting their displacement owing to the ongoing projects under smart city.

The traders in the area will not have to suffer in the name of smart city, said the Congress stalwart adding that he would take up the matter to the higher-ups. Singh assured the traders of full cooperation from the state government.

Protesting the administration decision to shift their commercial establishments and residential complexes to elsewhere, the traders and locals staged demonstration near Digamber Dharamshala on Wednesday.

As many as 200 traders have been made to shift to elsewhere owing to the developments projects being undertaken by Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Limited (BSCDCL).

The traders decried that they have lost their livelihood as they have been made to wind up their establishments and shift to place where there is not much scope for business. Many shops and residential structures have been razed down for the ongoing smart city development work and the process is on.

One of the traders Manoj Diwedi claimed that smart city officials had assured that the traders would not be shifted and all the development work would be done without disturbing them.

And now, they have shifted around 200 shops and the other shops will soon be shifted, for us it is a matter of our livelihood, he said.

Rakesh Jain, a trader warned that the shopkeepers will not follow the orders of the administration if they were made to shift elsewhere as many traders who were earlier displaced are still fighting for their survival.

Instead of bulldozing the shops and buildings, the administration should have incorporated the existing structure in the development plan and given them a makeover, he added.

Deepak Soni, another trader said that the way the administration is clearing the shops and buildings is unfair. The administration should renovate these commercial establishments and residential complexes on the lines of the smart city, he added.

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