SILCHAR, Oct 18 - In a bid to clear the water canals of the city, the government on Tuesday started a major eviction drive here.
The eviction drive to clear encroachments over Rangirkhal, the main sewerage canal of the city began from the IndusInd Bank point at Rangirkhari and progressed towards Shiv Colony on the western end of the canal. Officials from the Cachar district administration including ADC Jitu Kumar Das, ADC Rajib Roy and officials from other departments like PHE, Water Resources, BSNL etc., were seen during the move to demolish the constructions over the Rangirkhal.
More than 25 concrete buildings and makeshift business establishments were flattened as the eviction process began peacefully, although there was a minor resistance from the traders who claimed that the authorities gave them no time to remove their belongings. “We were neither served notices by the administration nor from the civic board. We do not oppose the initiative to clear the canal since it is aimed for the larger interest of the city affected by the perennial problem of waterlogging. But we should have been given sufficient time to accommodate our merchandise before carrying out the eviction,” a section of traders at Siv Colony echoed in unison.
Interestingly, reacting on the issue, Congress MP from Silchar Susmita Dev welcomed the step to free the encroached government land. But she was quick to add that the vendors must also be rehabilitated and compensated. “I also want that the canals of Silchar be made encroachment-free. But the vendors who run their families with the business through these shops must not be robbed of their sources of income. The Municipality must take steps to rehabilitate the vendors or should make arrangements for compensation from the Chief Minister’s relief fund,” Susmita said.
When approached, NN Tagore, chairperson, Silchar Municipal Board said, “this eviction programme is in line with the orders of the Gauhati High Court and the directives specified by the State government. We are only following the orders.”
He added to say that the civic board shall welcome if any fund is sanctioned for the vendors from the Chief Minister’s office. Also, the chairperson clarified that there are spaces available at the new office building of the board only for street vendors and not for those who had illegally possessed portions of the area alongside the canals. “The drive shall continue till the canals are completely made encroachment-free,” Tagore maintained.