Crackdown on Illegal auto parts trade: 50 Meerut shopowners seek nod to move to other business – The Indian Express
Following a crackdown on illegal trade in spare automobile parts, around 50 owners of auto-parts shops at Meerut’s Sotiganj Market have sought local district administration’s permission to reopen their shops to sell garments, shoes, sweets or groceries.
“Around 50 people have sought our permission to reopen their shops for selling items like shoes, sweets etc. They have been told to submit affidavits promising not to indulge in the sale or purchase of stolen automobile parts. Eight of them have been allowed to reopen their shops, while applications of others are under consideration,” said Assistant Superintendent of Police (Meerut) Suraj Rai.
Since July this year, charges have been slapped against more than 50 people, two of the biggest accused have been put in jail, and nearly 100 shops sent fresh notices for the sale of stolen vehicles’ parts.
“We have decided to change our business from selling auto parts to items like shoes, as we have families to feed. We are ready to do whatever the local administration wants us to do for sustenance,” said Tahir Abbas, president of Sotiganj Market Association.
“Our market has earned a bad name because of the nefarious activities of a handful of people. We are of strict opinion that those who are involved in criminal activities in the garb of selling auto parts should be dealt with a firm hand,” said Murasaleen, the general secretary of the local traders’ association.
Shadab, who has sought permission to open a grocery store in Sotiganj, said the government’s crackdown seemed more political. “Our family has been in the auto parts business for generations, and now suddenly we have been told to change our business. The Yogi Adityanath government is in power in Uttar Pradesh since 2017 but the issue has been raked up in the last leg of the tenure,” he said.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the BJP government in the state for its crackdown on the illegal trade of auto parts, saying that it showed the Adityanath government’s successful drive towards improving the law and order in the state.
“For good or bad, a market in Meerut has at least come into the national limelight,” said Sunil Sharma, an insurance agent.
For years now, Sotiganj Market, which came up more than seven decades ago, has been known to be the place where vehicles, including cars and bikes, stolen from western Uttar Pradesh and Delhi are brought to be dismantled. Officials said highly skilled mechanics can open up a motorcycle in merely 15 minutes, and a car in less than an hour.
In July and August this year, Gangsters Act was slapped against nearly 50 people accused of illegal trade in spare parts. Officials said they made large recoveries of automobile items from them.