Manipur government faces another temporary market fiasco

Imphal, March 14 (IANS) The Manipur government may have to close down a new temporary marketing complex here which was built to house women vendors whose shops were damaged in the January 4 earthquake.

Women vendors said customers don’t come to the temporary market at B.T. Road which has no parking space and is already surrounded by numerous street vendors.

“What can we sell there if there are no customers,” Shakitombi, a woman vendor, told IANS.

Leihaobi, another vendor, said the temporary market was ill-conceived.

“The construction of the temporary market was never announced in advance. We were never taken into confidence,” she said.

The market with sitting capacity for 2000 women vendors was inaugurated on Friday by the state’s Works Minister K. Ratankumar. He told the vendors to make the best use of the temporary market while the permanent complex is being constructed near the old Assembly complex in the city.

On the day of the inauguration, just four women vendors sold handloom clothes and the following day there was just one vendor.

The temporary arrangement was necessitated after two blocks of Imoinu market were damaged in the January 4 earthquake.

The damage drove the women vendors out but only temporarily. They have since reoccupied the unsafe, quake-damaged building of the Imoinu market.

Imoinu market is part of the Mothers’ Market complex, an iconic, 150-year-old market of Imphal.

The state government had engaged experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Roorkee to get advice on whether the damaged buildings could be restored or should be demolished.

The women vendors were seen doing brisk business in the unsafe buildings.

The temporary market fiasco is a repeat of what happened in Thangal market area where too a similar project had to be scrapped midway after the government faced widespread protests led by BJP legislator Khumukcham Joykishan.

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