Vendors re-occupy Imphal’s quake-hit, unsafe market

Imphal, Feb 8 (IANS) The women vendors of Ima Keithel, the iconic Mothers’ Market here, started on Monday to re-occupy the two quake-hit and unsafe buildings of the complex they have been advised not to enter.

The women said they will soon re-start their business in the two buildings of the Mothers’ Market complex, which were severely damaged in the January 4 earthquake and rendered unsafe.

Over 2,000 women vendors were left without shops and their only means of livelihood since the buildings were damaged in the earthquake on January 4.

These women then pinned their hopes on a state government plan to construct a temporary market for them at the Thangal Bazar area, which had to be scrapped after widespread protests led by local Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Khumukcham Joykishan.

The government launched construction at the Thangal Bazar area, virtually leaving no space for the heavy traffic, inviting criticism that the plan was outlandish and impractical.

“We have waited long for the temporary markets,” said Sushila, a fish monger.

Sorojini, who sells handloom products at the market, told IANS that they have Hobson’s choice.

Pishakmacha who sells consumer items said, “We have been sitting at the roadside all these days. Many of us had fallen ill since we are exposed to sun, exhaust fumes and dust. Besides, there is a risk as the streets are very narrow and traffic is exceptionally heavy in these parts of the town. We had little choice.”

Experts who visited Imphal to inspect the damaged marketing complexes recommended to the government not to allow the vendors to occupy these again.

So far, the government has not intervened and the women vendors and customers are at great risk in case another major earthquake strikes the state.

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