Trade row over market off day

Kalimpong, July 30: An attempt to change the local business community’s weekly day off from Sunday to Thursday was foiled when the markets here remained closed today.

The bid to change the day is seen as the fallout of an on-going tussle between two local trade bodies — Kalimpong Bepar Mandal, which campaigned for the shift, and Kalimpong Chamber of Commerce, which opposed it.

The chamber president Dinesh Mittal said: “The Bepar Mandal tried to close the markets on July 13 (a Thursday), but received little response from the traders. It has, probably, realised its folly now.”

The conflict is built around the alleged lack of democracy in the chamber’s way of functioning of late, which reportedly forced a few local traders to form Bepar Mandal. The chamber is being run by an ad hoc committee, which was formed in April 2005 with a brief to conduct an election and constitute a permanent committee. However, till date no election has been held. “In fact, the tenure of the ad hoc committee was fixed at three months, but even now Mittal goes about calling himself its president,” alleged Anil Sikhwal, himself a member of the ad hoc panel.

The ad hoc committee itself was formed because the elections had not been conducted for over 12 years.

Mittal, however, denied that the ad hoc panel was given a time-frame to conduct the election.

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