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In Ambala, closure of Shambhu border comes at a huge price

Clothes market sales dip by 30-40% | NHAI incurs daily loss of Rs 72 lakh

In Ambala, closure of Shambhu border comes at a huge price

A showroom lies deserted in the absence of customers following the closure of Shambhu border since February 10. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Nitish Sharma

Ambala, May 29

The closure of Haryana-Punjab interstate Shambhu border, since February 10, is affecting the businesses of local traders and shopkeepers and adding to their worries. The Ambala clothes market has an annual turnover of over Rs 2,000 crore, and the sales have dropped by 30 to 40 per cent.

BKU to mobilise farm activists again from June 2

So far, there have been no talks with the government regarding the Shambhu border, but from June 2, we will start mobilising farm activists and the number of farmers at the border will swell again. We request businessmen to talk to the government to open the road. The government closed it. It wasn’t our intention to keep the border closed. Tejveer Singh, Spokesman of BKU (Shaheed Bhagat Singh)

Cloth traders of Ambala City said a large number of customers from Punjab used to visit the market, but due to the border lying closed for nearly 110 days, the sales have been hit hard.

Vishal Batra, president of the Wholesale Cloth Market Association, said: “Due to the closure of the border, wholesale and retail sales have been affected in the clothes and ‘maniyari’ markets. We have been requesting the government to resolve the issue amicably. Showroom owners and traders have started cutting down the workforce because of the ongoing situation.”

“The sales have gone down drastically and people are finding it hard to pay salaries and bills. We have met state CM Nayab Singh Saini, who assured us that the government would take positive steps to resolve the issue after the election. We hope it is resolved soon,” he added.

At stake is the livelihood of thousands of families linked with shops in various markets of Ambala City. “If the situation is not resolved soon, their livelihood will be impacted,” said Rajan Kansra, owner of a sari showroom.

The situation of Ambala Cantonment markets is no better. A drop in sales has been observed here, too. Atul Mahajan, president of Vijay Rattan Chowk Market Association in Ambala Cantonment, said: “Farmers have the right to raise their demands, but the closure of the road has affected us directly. The government and farmers should resolve the matter. At least one side of the border should be opened to provide some relief to commuters and local businessmen.”

The closure of the Shambhu toll plaza at the Haryana-Punjab interstate border is also causing a dent in the revenue of the National Highway Authority of India, which is incurring a loss of nearly Rs 72 lakh every day. As per sources, there has been a loss of over Rs 79 crore to the Central Government exchequer so far.

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