“Some 700 employees and thousands of consumers would be affected by this”

Twenty-five outlets of Kendriya Bhandar -- government-run subsidised retail stores -- located in the densely-populated government residential colonies in the Capital are facing closure by mid-June.

The livelihoods of several contractual employees are at stake and the move would also hit hard household budgets that are already bearing the brunt of escalating inflation.

Speaking about the problem Kendriya Bhandar Central Government Employees Consumer Cooperative Society Ltd. president Narendra Singh explained: “We are looking at the closure of Kendriya Bhandars located in areas, including Pandara Road, R.K. Puram, Lodhi Colony, Sarojini Nagar among others across the city that will be affected. These retail outlets are facing evacuation and closure by June since the Ministry of Urban Development had directed the Directorate of Estate to cancel the allotment of general pool residential accommodation in possession of Kendriya Bhandar in Delhi and to initiate eviction proceedings. No alternate accommodation has been identified and provided to us.”

The employees are demanding that Kendriya Bhandar should be allowed to identify suitable land in Government colonies so that the same can be permitted for construction and setting up their outlets on the same lines as Mother Dairy.

Society general secretary Karamveer Singh Rawat said closure of the outlets would impact: “Some 700 employees, their families and thousands of consumers who have been availing the facilities will be directly affected by the closure.”

New Delhi Lok Sabha MP Ajay Maken had intervened on the behalf of the Kendriya Bhandar employees in 2013. In his letter to Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, he had pointed out that these outlets were key to ensuring that the price of essential commodities remained under control.

“I strongly recommend that a status quo be maintained until alternate arrangement is made to ensure that the Bhandars continue to provide cheap and affordable consumables to the common man,” Mr. Maken had said.

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