Bathinda, April 8
The shopkeepers, who are staging an indefinite relay sit-in protest against the Municipal Corporation’s demolition of alleged encroachments at the Mall Road market, today hardened their stance, saying the authorities will have to meet them at the dharna site to resolve their grievances.
The protesters have gotsupport from the Congress, whose senior local leaders, including district president Rajan Garg and former chairman of Improvement Trust KK Aggarwal joined the protest, which started on Thursday, the day demolitions were carried out.
Flaying the AAP-led state government, Garg said local MLA Jagroop Singh Gill was behind the demolitions.
He further said the Municipal Corporation had failed to provide outlet of storm water in the market. The shopkeepers had elevated the pavements and access entry to the shop to beat the waterlogging in the market, which was a regular feature during monsoon or heavy showers.
The authorities demolished encroachments outside shops on either side of the 1-km stretch of Mall Road after serving notices on owners concerned regarding the matter.
However, the Mall Road Welfare Association president, Harjinder Singh Johal, alleged that the demolitions were arbitrary. The shopkeepers were already in talk with the authorities concerned with regard to the notices they had received, he added.
“A posse of around 50 policemen accompanied the Municipal Coporation staff for the demolitions in early morning. At some places they have damaged authorised constructions,” Johal said.
He said the police authorities had promised to arrange their meeting with the Deputy Commissioner to break the logjam and redress their grievances.
“The authorities will have to come to the protest site to talk to the shopkeepers,” Johal said.
The Bathinda Vyapaar Mandal has openly backed the shopkeepers. Several market associations contiguous to Mall Road remained closed in the morning yesterday in response to the protesters call.
Meanwhile, Jaijeet Singh Johal ‘Jojo’, brother-in-law of a former minister and now a BJP leader Manpreet Singh Badal, today joined the shopkeepers at the protest site.
Protest against demolition drive
- The authorities demolished encroachments outside shops on either side of the 1-km stretch of Mall Road
- However, the Mall Road Welfare Association alleged that the demolitions were arbitrary
- The shopkeepers are already in talk with the authorities regarding notices served to them
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