Agra : At least 25 shops out of 71 in Meena Bazaar situated near the parking lot of the Taj Mahal have been shut due to increasing rent and not enough work by Agra Development Authority ( ADA ) , alleged Meena Bazaar traders ‘ association .
Traders were removed from the area in 1993 and rehabilitated 600m from the Taj’s west gate in 2000. ADA arranged space to build a market near the Taj parking lot , 600m from the west gate in 2000 and handed over the licence of 71 shops to them and fixed Rs 400 rent per shop with the agreement to increase the fixed amount after every three years .
Shopkeepers of the market which has several signboards stating ” Meena Bazaar approved by SC ” claimed that the top court had ordered to provide space to build a market for them , and also ordered to provide basic facilities like water , electricity and toilets , but the ADA failed to provide these facilities.
ADA’s engineers also created a poor architecture of the market , hence few tourists visit their shops , they claimed .
Amar Singh , president of Meena market , said , ” Our ancestors used to do business near the Taj , but later , we were forced to move by ADA , without any proper facility . About 25 shops have been shut down so far and many shopkeepers are considering closing their shops because not enough customers are visiting this market due to its location and architecture . “
Another shopkeeper Uday Singh said , ” We have been paying rent for 20 years to ADA but still they do not pay much attention . They increased the rent and those shopkeepers not in a position to pay , received notices . We had built this market with our own money and now we are helpless . No one is listening to us . “
Meanwhile , ADA’s VC Charchit Gaur said , ” We will look into the matter of what kind of responsibilities ADA had with them , and we will work on it if they are facing any issues . “