* Shop owners decry poor planning, paucity of space & lack of electricity
SHILLONG: The inauguration of the Polo Super Market here seems to have been done in a hasty manner considering the fact that main amenity which is electricity is still not available in the complex. The Market complex was constructed at a cost of Rs 21.41 crore. It was inaugarated in August. The shopping complex has 297 shops. Space allocation has been made to the vendors who had occupied the old market. However, the vendors who have moved in have started to grumble owing to the absence of electricity, besides the space and the size of the shops allotted to them.
While the market complex is touted as a purported "Times Square" of Shillong, those who have occupied the allotted stalls, told this correspondent, "Many of us have moved in with lots of expectations. But even after three months, the complex does not have electricity supply.
"Look at the darkness surrounding us here. It is impossible to carry out business," stated a lady vegetable vendor who also complained about the low business inside the business.
Another vendor said that they feel like carrying the business in a dungeon, adding that everything has to be stopped by evening. A few others also said that it is very difficult to carry on their businesses during these times of crisis that was compounded by the pandemic.
The other grievances of the allotees is the space of the shops. "Prior to the demolition of the old market, we had spacious shops. To our utter surprise now the shops are barely six feet in length and six feet in width." stated another shopkeeper. He also informed that most of the shops in the Super Market have not been occupied.
Construction of the Super Market commenced on March 1, 2017 and it was completed on December 31, 2019 at a sanctioned cost of Rs 21.41 crore.
Besides, an amount of Rs 75 crore has been also sanctioned for the construction of the Polo Market complex — adjacent to this new market complex; and it is expected to be completed in the next three years. The Polo Market complex is a state-of-the-art building designed to rehabilitate roadside vendors and hawkers of Polo Bazaar. This market project is funded by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The complex stretches over 3000 sq.m.