ECOR slaps Notice on Illegal Encroachments of Railway Land at Malgodown in Cuttack

Cuttack (CTC): The Millennium City is soon going to be shorn of a slice of its history with the Railways serving a notice for take-over of the land on which Malgodown, the largest commodities market of the State, now stands.

Hit by the ultimatum served by Khurda Road Railway Division of East Coast Railways (ECoR) for vacating the land by March 31, the traders have approached district administration for intervention in the matter. The traders have sought alternative arrangement for setting up a new marketplace before they are evicted from the present land.

A delegation of Cuttack Chamber of Commerce (CCC) on Monday met Collector Nirmal Chandra Mishra in this connection and pleaded his help in stalling the vacation order until alternative arrangements are made. The meeting decided to set up a high-level committee to examine the extent of occupation of Railway land by Malgodown as well as identify a suitable location in and around the city for shifting the market.

“There have been plans for identifying land and shifting Malgodown to it after creating proper facilities. The process would be expedited now,” Mishra said.

The traders are, however, in a state of dread as there is little time in hand. With more than 850 trade establishments comprising wholesalers and semi-whole wholesalers, Malgodown, which was established in 1866 after the Great Famine, is the lifeline for more than 25,000 people including traders, workers, labourers and transporters. It sees daily trade transactions to the tune of `100 crore and supplies commodities to markets across the State.

“The Railways has been issuing licences for trade operations here since 1925. Now it has served the notice stating that there would be no renewal from 2015 and has asked us to vacate the land. The sudden action will not only affect traders and those depending on Malgodown for livelihood but also have a serious impact on entire commodities supplies in Odisha,” secretary, CCC Srikant Sahoo said.

The traders’ body is also set to approach the court against the notice