Committee warns Vishal Mega Mart, Bazar India of closure over 'public nuisance'
The committee demanded that the two malls find an alternative space far away and ferry their customers back and forth to conduct all business operation within 30 days from Tuesday.
A joint committee of local organisations on Tuesday warned forced closure of Vishal Mega Mart and Bazar India malls in Imphal for causing inconveniences to the public.
The Vishal Mega Mart at Chingmeirong and Bazar India branch at Chingmeirong Khongnang Ani Karak was warned of forceful closure of their business operations by the joint committee of the Chingmeirong Mamang Maning Leikai Shinglups and clubs.
The committee demanded that the two malls find an alternative space far away and ferry their customers back and forth to conduct all business operation within 30 days from Tuesday. It warned that it will forcefully close down their business if the demand is not fulfilled within the stipulated time.
The joint committee said its team has submitted the notice to proprietors of Vishal Mega Mart and Bazar India mall on Tuesday.
Interacting with the media, secretary of Chingmeirong Mamang Makha Shinglup Ram Wangkheirakpam pointed out that the shopping malls are located in the heart of Imphal city beside the crossroad of the Asian Highway-1 that leads to other districts. The road connects important government offices like Manipur High Court, secretariat, Manipur Assembly and ISBT. However, Vishal Mega Mart and Bazar India malls do not have parking facilities for its staff and hundreds of customers who visit the mall every day, he added.
Customers' vehicles, mainly cars, are parked on both sides of the road, and in Leirak (locality) areas stretching kilometres causing obstruction to the smooth flow of traffic in the areas. The buildings and operation of the malls are in clear violation of section 70 of the Imphal Municipality Council building by-laws, 2013 for parking space too, he said.
For residents of Chingmeirong who live on both sides of the road, it has become a nightmare since shopping malls began to function. They find their gates and entry points blocked or their small shops get blocked by cars of customers who visit the mall. At night, from 8 pm onwards, trucks and workers coming to deliver the goods cause noise pollution due to the offloading of goods, leading to disturbances in the neighbourhood. The sound of dumping waste materials, including the packaging materials, in the night has caused sleepless nights around the neighbourhood, he said.
Wangkheirakpam mentioned that a verbal complaint has been made to Vishal staff and they have fought with the mall staff on several occasions.
Indiscriminate disposal of waste from the mall in the surrounding area has also resulted in the blockage of the water system, he said, adding that wastes are generated by both the mall and customers and there is no mechanism to deal with wastes. And the mall has not registered to the local waste collection system.
Besides, the use of generators has also created immense air and noise pollution that residents in the past had raised the problem with the mall management. Due to the lack of toilet facilities, the customers and staff have been using adjacent places, it is public nuisance, he added.
As such, the joint committee said that it has submitted a notice to Vishal and Bazar India proprietors with a demand to find alternative space.
The committee also pointed out that there should be strict adherence in clearing the footpath so that movement of pedestrians is smooth. There should be no night activities allowed for the offloading of goods and wastes. There should be zero tolerance for any kinds of noise that disturbs the neighbourhood. Use of generators must ensure that neighbours are not harmed by air or noise pollution. Toilet facilities must be created for staff and customers. All wastes going into the drain must be cleared and ensure that all wastes are managed properly as per the law and notice.
The demands should be fulfilled within 30 days starting November 24 or else the business should close voluntarily until the demands are not met. Otherwise, the joint committee will be forced to close the business operations of the malls, it added.
Meanwhile, speaking to the Imphal Free Press, Imphal Municipal Corporation commissioner Chandrakumar said that the enquiry process has been started in this connection and will be completed shortly. Building by-law has the same pattern within India. However, in Manipur, it was amended in May 2020. Even resident building should have parking spaces and market, shopping malls should have large parking spaces, he said.
Further stating that Vishal mall seems to not have parking space, he maintained that depending on the enquiry report, if Vishal had not taken approval for the mall, then IMC will close it down, the IMC commissioner added.
Chandrakumar also informed IFP that he has found a record of trade license taken by Vishal mall as of now, but approval of the building is yet to be found. "Enquiries were started for all business operations in areas under the IMC. Surveys were conducted for NOC certificates and building approval at Imphal market areas. Besides, a survey on the span of buildings has also been started. It may take time as many instruments are required to check the quality of buildings," he added.