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Sopore Traders Fear Losing Businesses As Admin Plans to Implement Master Plan
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Sopore Traders Fear Losing Businesses As Admin Plans to Implement Master Plan

“The traders say that they met the then DC Baramulla who assured them that he will look into the matter.”

SOPORE — As the Baramulla district administration plans to implement the ‘Sopore master plan’, many business establishments and shopkeepers have expressed their resentment saying that the implementation of the ‘plan’ will render them jobless.

Although the government has promised the shopkeepers and other business establishments compensation or rehabilitation, the stakeholders say that it will not suffice since their sources of income will be displaced. “I don’t want any compensation. This shop is my son’s only source of income. What are we going to do with the compensation?” Abdul Majid Sofi, one of the shopkeepers, said.

Sofi has a three-storied shop in the market. “If the government wants to rehabilitate us, they must provide me a similar shop that too in market, or else it’s not acceptable,” he said.

The Sopore master plan will impact around 300 shopkeepers and they will be forced to vacate their shops, said Mohammad Ashraf Ganai, a tenant.

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He said that the shopkeepers will be compensated but the government has not come clear on how they will rehabilitate us.

“I am 70 years old and my family has been working in this rented shop for a century now. What will I do in this old age now?” Mohammad Maqbool, another shopkeeper said.

Another tenant, Mohammad Ashraf Wani, said that he has two sons, who are students and he is the sole bread earner of the family.

“I earn from this shop, feed my family and kids’ education. If this is taken away from me, what will I do?” Wani asked.

“This is the most vibrant marketplace in Sopore, and each shopkeeper has taken loan of crores of rupees. A small disturbance, and we will be bankrupt,” said Ghulam Mohammad Dar, a shop owner.

Since August 2019, “we have been witnessing lockdown after lockdown. I am not even sure how shopkeepers are holding up one more blow — and we will be shattered,” Dar added.

A 28 year-old young man who wants to start a new business at a shop — where his father was a tenant — is reluctant now.

“I want to start a new business, but, my parents are scared of making an investment. Their concerns are genuine. What if after investing lakhs of rupees, the shops are demolished,” the 28 year-old asked.

Mohammad Shafi Changal, a shopkeeper, whose shop will be demolished under the master plan, said that he was not against the plan, but the shopkeepers should be rehabilitated before any step is taken. “If the government won’t rehabilitate us to some other place before the demolition drive, we will protest on streets,” he said.

Shafi, who is also vice-president of Traders Federation Sopore, said that the Federation had met the then DC Baramulla, GN Itoo, and he had assured them that he would look into the matter. “But then, he never acted. We don’t have any assurances from the government,” he added.



Executive Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control, Sopore Javid Ahmad Sofi said all those shopkeepers whose shops will be impacted because of the master plan will be compensated. He said that the people living in the area will be provided with land and compensation both. 

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