Noida: Livelihood destroyed, shop owners now wonder what to do

Noida authority demolishes ‘illegal’ makeshift structures near Mahagun Moderne society

noida Updated: Jul 19, 2017 07:32 IST
Preety Acharya
Preety Acharya
Hindustan Times
Noida,Noida news,domestic help beaten
Apart from kiosks and shops, hutments in the area near the Mahagun Moderne housing society in Sector 78 were also demolished in Noida on Monday.(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo)

Last Wednesday at 7am, 45-year-old Ramesh Kumar was setting up his makeshift tea shop in Sector 76 for his early morning customers, he said. He claims he had no knowledge of the mob violence at Mahagun Moderne Society that was going on a few hundred metres from his shop at that time.

Ramesh is one of the 30-odd kiosk owners whose makeshift shops were demolished by the Noida authority on Monday as the temporary structures had come up on government land.

He said he had spent Rs20,000 to acquire the shop and the goods he needed. Like Ramesh, there are other 30 other shopkeepers who have lost their livelihood the demolition drive six days after the violence at Mahagun Moderne society violence.

Rumours of a domestic help being beaten up and held captive had enraged a mob which allegedly attacked the housing society and vandalised property there.

The Noida authority has officially claimed that the demolition was not due to the recent violence, but the demands for action against ‘illegal’ workers in Noida have increased ever since.

However, Ramesh fails to understand what he has to do with it all. “I had nothing to do with the crowd that attacked Mahagun society. I am a resident of Barola village and was busy setting up my tea shop when the violence took place in the society. I have three children to look after and the officers have demolished my shop and destroyed my livelihood,” he said.

Ramesh’s friend Pappu (36), who like Ramesh says he belongs to Hardoi district in UP, too sold vegetables in the area from a kiosk that was demolished on Monday.

“My wife is dead and I am supposed to feed my three children. I have been selling vegetables (here) for the past four months. Now, I am thinking of selling vegetables from a cart,” he said.

Another vegetable seller, 22-year-old Sanjay Yadav, has been in business in the area for only two years, but is one of the oldest shopkeepers in the area.

“I am the sole bread winner of my family and the demolition has destroyed my stock of vegetables. How will I earn from tomorrow? I have to support my whole family,” he said.

Authority officials claimed the drive was carried out as the shops were set up illegally.

“The encroachers were already served notice by the Noida authority to remove their makeshift settlements. When they failed to vacate the land, the authority razed their structures. The action was not taken because of the Mahagun Moderne violence,” said Awneesh Kumar, circle officer, city-3, who was a part of the police team accompanying the authority’s demolition wing officials.

While there have been calls against ‘illegal Bangladeshis’ in the area following the Mahagun violence, Kumar said the encroachers in the area were from different parts of India.

First Published: Jul 17, 2017 23:44 IST