The shops at 12-daftar area in Bhopal
The shops at 12-daftar area in Bhopal

BHOPAL: The 231 traders, who were stripped of their livelihood after their shops at Jawahar Chowk were razed this January, are yet to resume a normal life. Once proud owner of shops, a few displaced traders are finding it hard to bear the additional burden of rented outlet they have taken up to run their business.

The Coronavirus-induced lockdown added to their pain. It would take years for them to establish business in new locality where they have been relocated. The traders are finding it hard to meet their daily expenses, earning profit is far cry.

Nearly, a year later the smart city has initiated process to allot shops to 162 traders whose stores were razed. Earlier, the smart city had provided space to 59 shopkeepers to run their business. These traders were lucky to get space to run their shops, however, they too are not happy. There is hardly any business and most of the shops remain closed as customers’ footfall is negligible, rued traders. Free Press spoke to a few shopkeepers who are struggling to make ends meet.

Either, they are running their shops on rent or even changed their business. A shopkeeper is even running an auto after his shop was removed.

Smart city has initiated process to allot shops to 162 traders whose stores were razed.
Smart city has initiated process to allot shops to 162 traders whose stores were razed.

Shahid Guddu, who ran an automobile repair shop, said the Smart City has provided a shop at 12-Daftar area, however, the number of visitors remain insignificant. Running a shop in an altogether different locality and on a rented premise has added additional burden, he added. Shahid said his son passed intermediate this year but he failed to get him enrolled in university as he was unable to run his business.

Wasemuddin, who had a gas cylinder repair shop, said that he has taken up auto driving as there was hardly any profit in running shop at a new locality. Wasemuddin said after they were shifted to 12-daftar area, he did not get customers like he would when he was at Jawahar Chowk. Now, he is borrowing money from his relatives to manage daily affairs and pay fee of his sons, he added.

Dinesh Sarathe, who was a barber, said we all had asked the smart city to provide shops at Jawahar Chowk area itself. The smart city delayed the process and now it is nearing a year, he said. Since our outlet were demolished were are struggling to survive and we all are now under debts, he added. Sarathe is one of the shopkeepers who are being shifted near Katju Hospital for which smart city has begun the formalities.

Chand Bhai, who used to design registration number plates at Jawahar Chowk, says that he gets one or two customers in a day as 12-Daftar area as it is thinly populated. The Smart City had demolished the shops and did not pay anything as relocation cost, he added.

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Free Press Journal