A fact file
* The market is run illegally by a three-member goon squad
* The illegal market has come of age, but nobody knows since when it has been running
* Monthly collection of tax from this illegal market is whopping Rs 5 lakh
* Tax so collected illegally does not add to any public coffers, not of GMC nor of NF Railway
* The unseen power behind good squad not known
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Dec 12: Are GMC and Kamrup (M) district administration in the know that a goon squad has long been running a market between train tracks at Bamunimaidam in the city and taxing some 600 odd vendors for years and on?
Reality is really stranger than fiction! A three-man goon squad has all along been taxing some 600 odd vendors by allowing them to vend on railway land at Bamunimaidam Railway Gate No. 6 in the city. This market, according to a few vendors selling goods there, has come of age. Even vendors do business between train tacks with consumers duly responding to their trade call. This has all along been a roaring illegal market with a roaring illegal business right in the heart of Guwahati, that too, glaringly right in front of all those at the helm of affairs. Any right-thinking people can raise the question: how come the GMC administration or others allow a market being run between train tracks? If this is not a glaring example of Guwahati being a haven for goons, what else is?
An investigation carried out by The Sentinel has some startling revelations can make powers that be at GMC or NF Railway hang their heads in shame. The market being run between train tracks is neither run by NF Railway nor by GMC. According to vendors doing business in the illegal market, it is run by a three-member goon squad – comprising Tapan Kurmi, Shankar Paul and Baba Das. The trio, according to the vendors, collects Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5 lakh monthly from the market as ‘tax’. The rates at which some 600 odd vendors have to cough up daily are – Rs 20 for each female vendor against Rs 30 for each male vendor, Rs 50 from each vendor selling onion and potato, Rs 100 from each wholesaler. The vendors, however, cannot say where the funds amounting to around Rs 5 lakh per month go to. They, however, are in the know that the trio continues to tax them but the ‘tax’ they pay is not going to fill GMC or NF Railway’s coffer.
The people of the locality are a baffled lot. They do not know as to why the powers that be in the State do not do anything tangible to remove the illegal market from there. The market is a hindrance for the local people to move around freely. Some of the local people met this reporter and shared with her all they know of the illegal market. This report has only all that the local people are in the know of this illegal market. However, even a layman can say with certainty that without any influential person or persons standing behind, a trio can never run such an illegal market. Who is or are the invisible force behind the trio?