Imphal temporary market construction stopped by BJP leader

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Imphal, Jan 16 (IANS) Following the destruction caused by the January 4 earthquake, the construction of a temporary women’s market in the Manipur capital was suspended on Saturday at the behest of BJP legislator Khumukcham Joykishan who said no tender was floated for the construction and no work order was issued.

Following the halt in the construction work in the legislator’s constituency, hundreds of angry women vendors stormed his house to demand an alternative market for them since they have been out of business since the earthquake damaged two women’s market complexes.

Eight people were killed and over 100 others wounded in the quake that also razed to the ground hundreds of houses .

The BJP’s state unit has been demanding demolition of the two market complexes saying they pose a threat to the women vendors.

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The BJP’s state unit president Thounaojam Chaoba demanded a CBI inquiry into the “substandard construction” done five years ago.

“Buildings and market centres built 50 years ago could withstand the earthquake but not these complexes,” he said, demanding construction of new markets.

The displaced women vendors have been selling various items by the roadside, much to the resentment of the street vendors.

Sensing violent confrontations between the two groups, the government hurried with the temporary construction in the Thangal market.

However, on Saturday, legislator Joykishan asked the contractor to stop work since no tender for the construction was floated and no work order was issued.

Criticising Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, he said that as the legislator, he should have been at least informed.

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“The chief minister should have some respect for the people and should not run the state whimsically,” he said.

On the explanation of the engineers that it was “emergency work”, he said: “The construction of a market complex to lodge over 2,000 vendors is not an emergency work.”

Heavily armed policemen were patrolling the area to maintain law and order.

Shakhitombi, a woman vendor, told IANS that the BJP lawmaker should provide an alternative site.

Though the women protested at his house for a long time, he refused to come out and talk with them.

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