Railways alleges vested interests behind trouble at Ponmalai Market

TIRUCHCHIRAPPALLI: Railway officials have alleged that merchants with vested interests are preventing the contractor, who was awarded licence to operate the market at Ponmalai, from collecting fees from vendors.

Stating that the contract awarded by the railways will not be rescinded through intimidation, the railways said it will initiate action and forcibly evict illegal shops and hawkers from the railway premises.

In a statement released by the Tiruchchirappalli Railway Division, an inquiry has been ordered to expose the miscreants who were obstructing the contractor from carrying out his work. It has also stated that if the state government wanted it could purchase the required land from railways.

Since many hawkers had been operating market and shops without any proper permission from the railways, they had decided to permit operation of a licensed market with minimum licensee fee. As per the contract, T Devakumar was awarded a contract for a period of 180 days from May 16 to November 11 to operate the licensed market.

In this regard, the contractor had also given adequate advertisements in the newspapers about the charges required to be paid by the vendors and merchants who were willing to operate from the market. Vendors and mobile stall keepers who sell articles at the Ponmalai Railway Colony on all days including the Sunday market can operate by paying the licensee fee.

“However, it has been observed that some merchants and vendors are not ready to accept the railway offer which was very genuine when compared to the market value of the parking area and vending area of the Sunday market at Ponmalai colony,” the release stated.

Some merchants with vested interests have encroached the railway area and are causing obstruction to the railway contractor’s operation.