(Photos: Preparing for the season.)
Restaurant tents have returned for the monlam season. A foreign favorite, Muhammad’s, is one of the first to rebuild and says it will re-open in a week.
(Photo: No more small tent restaurants and travel agents here near the chowk.)
The tent restaurants have only to rebuild, but many other, smaller tent establishments have not been so fortunate. The Supreme Court of India ruled against illegal building on government land. Most local business operators are highly inflamed having lost much business and may continue to lose if the displaced operators cannot find their own land soon. The government provided temporary land near the bus stand (near Om Cafe) for many chai wallas and vendors but most have refused to relocate into an area far from the main Stupa.
A local and legal business owner further argued that it is such illegal building that jeopardizes legal establishments. Makeshift tents attached to buildings house highly combustible gas tanks and burners, creating a hazardous and costly liability for the legal business owner. Needless to say, the Supreme Court also doesn’t seem to want such a liability on its own land.