Several flea markets demolished in Almaty 26 ноября 2013, 14:49
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The design of a retail complex. Photo courtesy of Almaty Architecture and City Planning Department
Several flea markets are being demolished in Almaty, Tengrinews reports. Kazakhstan law-enforcement officials have started demolishing Ulyger, Aral and Evrasia sections of Almaty's largest flea market. According to the law-enforcement official from the Municipal Department of Enforcement of Court Orders Rakhym Orymbayev, the owners of several of the flea market sections have voluntarily complied with the court decision. Notably there are no panic stricken traders at the flea market demolition sites. In fact, there are virtually no traders in sight at all. However, the traders from Gloria flea market section organized a meeting with their Director. Mr. Orymbayev who explained them that there was no court decision on demolition of Gloria flea market situated in a close proximity from Ulyger. He added that the demolition of the flea markets is taking place every day. A special police forces was guarding the demolition sites to ensure order and prevent possible collisions between the law enforcement authorities and the traders. The Municipal Officials have been planning the demolition of the Almaty flea market for a long time. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, providing safety and security of the flea markets requires a systematic approach, which includes demolition of the flea markets built in violation of laws and boundaries and construction of new retail facilities equipped with modern means of fire safety, establishing additional fire units and reconstructing the network of access roads. The future flea market was been presented at one of the conferences in Almaty earlier. With the emergence of new retail complexes in place of the flea markets in Almaty, many traders will lose their well-established businesses, the main reason being the expected 1.5-fold escalation of the rent that the traders are paying for their retail space. Besides the traders might lose their regular clients, the Vice President of the Kazakh Trade Enterprises Association Zhibek Azhibayeva believes. A poll conducted by the Institute of Political Solution shows that 40% of the respondents in Almaty support the idea of demolition of the flea markets, while 24.6% are against the demolition. For the citizens of Almaty, the traffic jams at the Northern Ring Road (that goes through the flea market) is the main inconveniences that the flea markets causes. At the same time, Ms. Azhibayeva reminded that there are a total of 74 official flea markets that employ 180 thousand people in Almaty. “The Akimat (Mayor's Office) has to provide a clear cut program of demolition and reconstruction of the retail facilities. It is crucial to consider the fact that many traders have loans and families they need to support. The demolition or relocation of their businesses will cut the source of their income,” thinks Ms. Azhibayeva. In October last year, the First Deputy Head of Architecture and City Planning Department of Almaty Zhanat Aitleu presented the designs of the future Tulpar and Salem retail complexes. The estimated cost of building a retail complex of that scale is 50-100 million dollars. Accordingly, the rent of a retail space will possibly increase by 1.5 times. As the practice shows, says Ms. Azhibayeva, 25% of traders cannot restore their businesses after any outside interference, be it a relocation of the shop or other factor.