22 C&F agents of Old Bus Stand Jammu struggling for rehab, bound to work from footpath

JDA fails to allot shops even after 3 years

Govind Sharma
JAMMU, June 22: Twenty-two carrying and forwarding (C&F) agents whose shops at Old Bus Stand Jammu were vacated and demolished by the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) in the year 2017 with the promise to allot them the shops at Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), Narwal (Jammu) within three months, have been struggling for their rehabilitation as even after more than two years of construction of shops at ISBT, JDA failed to allot the same to these aggrieved shopkeepers.
These 22 C&F agents were running their business on the shops allotted by the JDA at Old Bus Stand Jammu since long but in the year 2016-2017, the JDA officials approached these shopkeepers to vacate the shops as the site was required for Multi-level car Parking cum Commercial Complex at General Bus Stand, Jammu but the shopkeepers were adamant not to hand over their shops.
However, with the mediation of the then MLA Jammu East Rajesh Gupta, a meeting of these shopkeepers was organized with higher official of JDA in the presence of the MLA and they reached an agreement that the JDA will construct the shops at ISBT Narwal and allot the same to the affected shopkeepers within three months from the date of the meeting but even after more than 2 years of construction of shops at ISBT Jammu, the JDA has failed to allot the shops to these affected shopkeepers.
The aggrieved C&F agents while narrating their tale of woes to Excelsior said that it was also decided in the steering committee meeting in 2017 that till the allotment of shops, the shopkeepers will run their business on the footpath alongside Indira Chowk but “we didn’t know that we had to work from the footpath for such a long time as according to the agreement the shops at ISBT Narwal were to be handed over to us within 3 months.”
They said while the shops at identified location in ISBT Narwal were constructed within stipulated time but even after three years, JDA has failed to allot the shops to them and they are bound to work from footpath in this hot weather. “Unlike other affected shopkeepers of Bus Stand who are getting Rs 20000 per month from the Government as compensation, we are not getting anything. We have suffered huge loss since 2017 and now the situation has become unbearable as we are unable to pay the bank loans and are making both ends meet some how by getting credit from the market,” they added.
The affected shopkeepers said that in last two years, they gave representations to each and every concerned higher officer in the administration whether it is LG, Advisor to LG, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Vice Chairman of JDA, Commissioner Secretary Urban Development Authorities and Home Secretary but every body shifted responsibility on other and they are yet waiting for allotment of shops by the JDA.
Sources in JDA told Excelsior that the file of the aggrieved shopkeepers was approved in the 83rd meeting of Board of Directors (BoD) of JDA held on 21-10-2019 under the chairmanship of KK Sharma, then Advisor to Governor of J&K, but the issue is still pending due to unknown reasons.
When contacted, existing VC JDA Babila Rakwal said that within 2-3 days the process of allotment of shops to these 22 affected shopkeepers will be started as signatures of some higher officers are pending on their file.