Affected Batamaloo automobile mechanics left to fend for themselves


Hundreds of motor mechanics located at shops allotted to them by Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) at the erstwhile Batamaloo General bus stand are struggling to meet their two ends.  
The mechanics said shifting of the bus stand to Parimpora on the city outskirts has taken a toll on their businesses. The motor mechanics, who have been servicing vehicles for last several decades at Batamaloo, accused SDA and Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) of digging up trenches in their vicinity which they said are hampering their business. These trenches were dug up after the bus stand was sealed on High Court directions. 
The affected automobile dealers and mechanics have also written a letter to Chief Justice of J&K and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti saying “they are leading a miserable life and must be rehabilitated soon”.
Ghulam Qadir Pandit, president, Alamdar Shopkeepers Union said these mechanics are “sitting idle since past three months” as customer footfalls have taken a major hit.  
“It is highly astonishing on part of the authorities, be it the functionaries if the administrative department or the government that the trenches have been dug up from all the sides of the old Bus Stand so that no bus can enter there. But this has proved to be a menace for the mechanics and automobile dealers who are literally sitting idle for last three months,” reads the letter from the mechanics to the Chief Justice and Chief Minister. The affected motor mechanics say large shopping complexes developed by SDA have also been affected due to the shifting of the bus stand to Parimpora.
Manzoor Ahmad Beigh, president of Auto Parts Dealers Association said “they have lost a huge clientel due to the shifting of the bus stand. “Authorities must give a thought and rehabilitate us otherwise our future seems bleak if we are ignored,” Beigh said.
The automobile mechanics have blamed the authorities of erecting barricades in the old bus stand which proves to be a hurdle for them to service vehicles. 
“There are almost 250 shops and three big mechanical workshops which have been legally allotted by SDA. The owners of the said shops and workshops have been paying rentals towards the authorities. Despite this, we are unable to do any business at present,” reads the letter from the aggrieved mechanics. 
Urging the government to rehabilitate them, the motor mechanics have demanded that they should be allowed to run their businesses at Batamaloo until their rehabilitation is completed. 
Srinagar Development Authority, vice-chairman, Abdul Majid Raina said they are “left with no option” but to seal the bus stand. “We have no option but to seal the old bus stand on the directions of the High Court. We have not asked anyone to shut shop. Let them continue working till their rehabilitation at Parimpora happens,” Raina said. 
Raina said R&B Department has plans of constructing a bus terminal and shops at Parimpora. “This can help to rehabilitate such affected automobile dealers in future,” he said.

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