City market vendors, shopkeepers seek 15 days’ time to reply to notices


 Market Vendors Association has asked for 15 days time to reply to the notices served on the vendors and shopkeepers by Mr N D Agrawal,
who has been assigned the job of probing into alleged  irregularities in the allotment of shops and vacant spaces in the new municipal market in the Panaji city, informed Mr Dharmendra Bhagat, secretary of the association.
Speaking to this daily, Mr Bhagat stated that on Monday nearly 300 vendors replied to the notices individually wherein they have demanded more time to reply, adding that they cannot reply in such a short time and need sufficient time to do the same.
He informed that the association will approach the Chief Minister in this regard and explain to him the ground realities and would wait for the outcome of the meeting with him and if the need arises only then they would decide on the further course of action.
He said that while allotting the shops and vacant spaces in year 2003, they were just told by the authorities verbally to occupy the shops and spaces and it was as per the list given by the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation.
“Besides, the people, against whose names the shops and open spaces were transferred, have already paid to the corporation, more so, the question of occupying the shops and open spaces illegally does not arise at all,” he added.
In the market, the vegetable, fruit and other vendors are agitated over the notices issued to them by Mr N D Agrawal, who is inquiring into the alleged irregularities pertaining to the allotment of shops and vacant spaces in the new city municipal market complex.
“As per the notices, they have been asked to furnish all the documents and from whom they have taken the possession of shops and vacant spaces and specify the amount paid to them. To reply to these questions, we need time,’’ he said.
The vendors and shopkeepers have been told to submit all the relevant documents and papers to the office of the Corporation of  City of Panaji and April 2 deadline has been set for this.
On Monday morning, some vendors asked Mr Agrawal as to who has appointed him as an inquiry officer, and further requested him to  produce the order if any, issued in that respect, mentioning that it is necessary in order to file a proper reply and produce all relevant documents as directed.
All vendors received notices from Mr Agarwal on March 28 and Friday, Saturday and Sunday being holidays could not consult any advocate and as such they have urged to grant 15 days time to file appropriate reply and produce all the relevant documents.
In all there are 780 shopkeepers and vendors in the market.
It may be recalled that the government had appointed Mr Agarwal to probe into the alleged city municipal market shops scam. He has started the investigation with the assistance of the CCP Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner from the beginning of this month. The deadline – March 31, 2013 – for completion of this inquiry has also been extended till the end of April and the investigation report is expected to be presented by April 30 or during the first week of May 2013.   [NT]