Patna,(BiharTimes): Shopkeepers of Maurya Lok on Wednesday kept their shutters down in protest against the Patna Municipal Corporation’s apathy and alleged maintenance funds anomaly.
Members of Maurya Lok Shopkeepers’ Association have been demanding renovation and repair of toilets and urinals, and portable water facility on the premises for quite sometime. The complex is in a dilapidated condition and needs immediate renovation, they said.
The shopkeepers alleged that the PMC had been collecting taxes from them but no maintenance work was done in the shopping complex over the years.
“We have been demanding a renovation of Maurya Lok Complex over the past five years but nothing has happened so far. We had to resort to this daylong closure because of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC)’s complete negligence,” said Rajesh Kumar, the president of the Association.
He further said that the PMC had been collecting taxes from the shopkeepers under the maintenance head but no work had been done in the last three decades. Funds to the tune of around Rs 45 lakh have been withdrawn but there is no record of its utilization.
On the other hand PMC officials said they have moved a proposal in the standing committee of the Corporation to hand over the repair works to Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation in conformity to the government order.
Incidentally, the office of the Patna Regional Development Authority is located on its campus. Besides, there are a couple of other offices in its premises.
On Wednesday it wore a deserted look giving opportunity to shopkeepers and employees of shops to either play cricket or stage demonstration.
Except employees of the government offices in the complex, nobody was allowed inside it as all the five gates were barricaded. No vehicle, except those of employees of the offices were allowed entry.
A meeting was held between the Association members and the Mayor, Commissioner and senior officers of the PMC but it yielded no fruitful result. The shopkeepers did not appear satisfied with its outcome.
According to Rajesh Kumar the Commissioner said the renovation plan was under consideration of the civic body and needs to be approved by the empowered standing committee and the PMC board. On the demand of a probe into utilization of the funds, the civic body failed to give any satisfactory answer.
The association president’s peers joined him in airing their grievances on the dilapidated condition of the complex.
“The complex is in a bad shape at present owing to lack of maintenance. The plaster in the external facade is peeling off and the masonry work has been damaged. The electrical wires should be replaced. There is hardly any toilet, forcing people to urinate in the open. The internal roads of the complex have developed potholes. Most of the open spaces are encroached,” said Sunil Verma, owner of two shops in the complex.
Several shoppers returned empty-handed owing to the closure of the complex. But several of them supported the association’s demand of renovation.
“I had come to buy a sari for my wife from one of the shops. It was disappointing to find the shops closed. Despite the inconvenience, I think there is an urgent need of renovating the entire complex, including a proper parking lot,” said Subodh Kumar, a frequent visitor to Mauryalok Complex.