SMB begins demolition of shops at Polo Market

Construction of new market complex back on track

Shopkeepers salvage their goods while bulldozers demolish shops in the
background at Polo Market in the city on Saturday. (ST)

SHILLONG: The Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) and the East Khasi Hills district administration on Saturday demolished several shops in Polo Market in accordance with the High Court of Meghalaya verdict passed in favour of the State Government on April 24 last.

SMB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) E. Kharmalki said that even though the High Court had passed the judgement in April, the Board did not start the demolition work in the Polo Market since there were clauses in the ruling where the Court had permitted time for the petitioner to file an appeal against the ruling.

“We have finally started the demolition exercise since there was no appeal by the petitioners against the High Court judgement,” Kharmalki said.

He also said that they were expecting to complete the demolition on Sunday.

Referring to the High Court ruling, Kharmalki said a temporary place has to be provided to the godown to temporarily shift their goods.

Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, meanwhile, expressed relief that the Government had finally won the case.

“Despite the challenges that had come in the way of implementation of the new market complex project we would now be able to start the construction of the new market,” Lyngdoh said.

Interestingly, the SMB have given only two days’ notice to the shop owners prior to the demolition drive on Saturday.

Earlier, the owner of Hotel Polo Towers, Raj Kumar Sharma, along with 24 other non-tribal businessmen had filed a litigation which had stalled the construction of the new market complex at Polo.

The non-tribal businessmen had filed the litigation after the Urban Affairs Department had issued notices to them to shift their godowns from Polo Market.

The Urban Affairs Department has earmarked an amount of Rs. 21.41 crore for construction of the new market complex at Polo.