Cuttack (CTC): Opposing the eviction notice issued by East Coast Railways to traders of Malgodown, the Cuttack Chamber of Commerce (CCC) on Thursday organized a protest meeting.
The traders decided to meet chief minister Naveen Patnaik and chief secretary soon and apprise them of their plight. Besides, the chamber would also seek support of all MPs of the state to pressurize the railways to cancel the eviction notice. “We have sought appointment for the CM’s meeting. A delegation will meet him and tell him about our problem,” said joint secretary of CCC Srikant Sahoo.
“The Malgodown, the state’s biggest wholesale market, in is existence since 1866 and over 800 traders are doing business here. If evicted, we will sustain huge losses because we have our godowns and shops the malgodown,” said Sahoo.
The railways have issued notices to the traders to vacate the land by March 31 as it has some expansion plans. The railways owns the 25-acre Malgodown land since 1925 and it has been issuing license to the traders to do business . The traders pay a rent of Rs 4 to Rs 5 a sq ft to the railways. “It is shocking that railways has denied to renew our license and has given a short period of only 15 days to vacate the land. It is impossible to vacate the land within March 31,” said Madhusudan Rout, another trader.
The traders have threatened to stage an agitation if the eviction notice is not stopped. “We are not denying that the property belongs to railways. The government should provide alternative place to us to do business before evicting us,” added Sahoo. Over 30,000 people, including traders, workers and labourers, earn their livelihood from Malgodown that witnesses a daily trade of over Rs 150 crore.