The Noida Authority cordoned off the area around Sri Kalicharan Market and, under a heavy police force, demolished the market to pave way for parking, generator room and other facilities of the Metro rail project.
The demolition drive started at 9.30 am and continued till late evening. Tractor trolleys were still lifting debris from the site in the evening.
Y K Bahl, Additional CEO of the Noida Authority, said, “We can’t delay the Metro rail project. Sri Kalicharan Market was built illegally on Authority land. Due to a court stay order the Authority was unable to demolish the unauthorised market in the past. But the Authority got the stay vacated and won the case in the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the traders’ special leave petition was also dismissed. A warning was pasted at the market gate for shopkeepers to remove their goods and other belongings.”
Bahl said that the Authority is erecting fencing around the area. “The area is 3,000 square metres and its present value is over Rs 200 crore. Some portion will be used for the Metro rail project. A multi-level parking could also be set up,” he added.
Anand Awana and Jagvir Awana, who are among shop owners of the market and also petitioners, told HT, “her first public meeting here (on January 8) at the Sri Kalicharan Market gate and had told authority officials not to demolish the market. Authority officials ignored her directions and went ahead.”
“It was abadi land and we got a stay order from the Allahabad High Court, which is still effective even today. The Authority ignored this. We could not fight the demolition in the presence of heavy police force, including the PAC. However, we will protest before the CM,” said the Awanas.
Ajay Khanna, who set up a restaurant three months ago, said, “After Mayawati’s visit, we were assured the market would not be demolished. Next day I took a shop in the market, paying a monthly rent of Rs 17,000 and spent Rs 4 lakh on the shop.”
Authority officials said Mayawati had not given any assurance about this market. For demolition of unauthorised markets she had told officials to first get the stay vacated and take action after completing the legal formalities.