KOCHI: Trouble has been brewing in the timber market at Perumbavoor for quite some time with a group of merchants accusing the Sawmill Owners and Plywood Manufacturers Association (SOPMA) president M M Mujeeb Rehman of taking unilateral decisions. He has been accused of using thugs to intimidate those who oppose his nefarious agenda.
According to C K Abdul Majeed, former treasurer, the prohibitions enforced and unjust decisions taken by Mujeeb has made life and doing business difficult for the merchants. "We are unable to freely do business. Exasperated with the high-handedness of the president, we approached the High Court. The HC has ruled in our favour and passed various judgments. We submitted the copies of the said judgments to the DySP, CI and other authorities in Perumbavoor," he said.
But according to the aggrieved parties, nothing positive has emerged out of it. "At this juncture, the president and the secretary of the association decided to shift the market to Pezhakappilli on October 2. We protested but to little effect. We decided to go to the new market only so our businesses are not affected. But when we reached the market, we were greeted by the thugs posted by Mujeeb," alleged Majeed. According to him, the timely and swift action taken by the Muvattupuzha police prevented untoward incidents.
"When the staff at the association office were questioned by the police, it came to light that the thugs were indeed in the pay of the president. The cops also obtained documents showing the transactions that took place. In the light of these revelations, the president and other members should step aside and face an inquiry, but they have not done so," he said.
Even though the police intervened and reopened the Sosel market in Perumbavoor, the timber that arrives here is of smaller size. "Good quality timber coming from Thiruvananthapuram region is seized by the president's goons at Mattapilli. So in effect, we are yet again left high and dry," he said.