Sweeping eviction in Krishnagar: 200 shops demolished, sparking controversy and uncertainty

Sweeping eviction in Krishnagar: 200 shops demolished, sparking controversy and uncertainty

Biswabrata Goswami

KRISHNAGAR, 29 JUNE: Following Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s stringent remarks against encroachments, the Krishnagar town in Nadia district witnessed a sweeping eviction drive, targeting hawkers and shop-owners who have been running their businesses on government land for decades. At least 200 permanent shops across various locations in the town were demolished today.

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The drive, which began early in the morning, saw the district administration, police, and municipal staff working together to remove illegal sheds, stalls, and merchandise that had long occupied the town’s walkways. By 5:30 am, areas such as Municipal More, Police Line, the bus stand, Post Office More, Collectorate Office, and SP Office were buzzing with activity as bulldozers rolled in.

According to sources, approximately 200 temporary stalls were removed in these areas alone. The eviction drive is set to continue for the next 30 days, with all illegal encroachers already warned to vacate their settlements. They have been advised to remove their structures themselves as quickly as possible, failing which the administration will intervene.

While many residents welcomed the return of usable pavements, concerns about the livelihoods of displaced hawkers were evident. Bimal Biswas, a hawker near Krishnagar bus stand who has been selling goods on a footpath for a decade, voiced his uncertainty about the future. “Police told us to leave this morning…We don’t know what will happen. I think…things will get back to normal after some time,” he said. Bimal suggested the government should establish a designated vending zone and a proper hawker identification system so that hawkers “don’t have to encroach” on footpaths.

Mainak Das, a young IT sales professional, commented on the situation, “Only time will tell if this eviction drive is a temporary fix or a permanent step. For now, I am enjoying the newfound ease in the High Street area.”

Devastated and frustrated by the sudden eviction, Malati Kundu (name changed), who owns a garment shop near Police Line, burst into tears. “How could Mamata Banerjee make this decision? I maintain my family with this little shop. This morning, I found my shop was removed by a bulldozer. We cast our votes for Trinamul Congress, but I got such a return from them. I don’t want Lakshmir Bhandar. I want immediate rehabilitation,” she said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by several women. A 65-year-old woman who had a tea stall near the SP Office lamented, “I have lost everything. Now, where will I go? Who will compensate for my loss? Who will give bread to our mouths? Shame, shame.”

Pralay Biswas, a stamp vendor, alleged unfair treatment, saying, “In the SP Office area, around 50 permanent stalls run their business based on land-related revenue disputes and other related works. This area does not fall in the category of congested footpath area. Here we give revenue to the government, but the administration has demolished all permanent structures here, leaving hundreds of families in deep woes.”

The eviction drive follows Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s directive on Monday, where she sharply criticized encroachment on government land. In response, the Nadia district administration quickly formulated plans for the eviction.

District Magistrate Arun Prasad stated, “The drive will continue to make footpaths ‘encroachment-free’ across the town. We will also remove all illegal encroachers from government lands within a month. We will later try to rehabilitate a few of them who ran their businesses for the last two decades on the government lands.”

Tags: #Krishnagar #Eviction #Bulldozer #Hawkers #Footpath

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