The demolition squad of municipal corporation (MC) on Tuesday removed permanent encroachments sprawled in front of over 400 shops, showrooms and eating joints in Ambala Bazar area.
The massive encroachment drive was carried out in Pansari Bazar, Dal Mandi, Aanaj Mandi, Saudagar Bazar, Sadar Bazar, DC Road and Nicholson Road from 9 am to 5 pm.
The MC demolition squad was led by sub-divisional magistrate Meenakshi Goyal, joint commissioner Kamalpreet Kaur and CEO Arvind Baliyan.
The power supply to Sadar area was discontinued as a precautionary measure, and was only resumed at 6:30 pm after the demolition work was suspended for the day.
Five JCB machines and over 200 cops were deployed to remove the permanent and temporary structures from encroaching public spaces.
Despite Lohri, the main markets remained closed that resulted in traders suffering huge losses.
The visibly upset shopkeepers were mute spectators and offered no resistance even though some complained of MC authorities being selective in what they demolished, adding that they were not served notices.
On November 4 last year, Punjab and Haryana high court judge Augustine George Masih had directed Ambala MC authorities to remove the encroachment within two months and consequently file a compliance report on January 27.
The HC had also asked the administration to conduct survey in 16 other markets and file a report on January 27 detailing the schedule to be adopted for their removal.
In the public interest petition (PIL) which was moved in 2011 and decided on February 13, 2012, advocate SKS Bedi, who had filed the petition in person, had asked for the removal of encroachments and illegal constructions on government land, on road berms and from class ‘C’land whether made by private persons or by MC.
In the PIL the petitioner had asked the court to direct authorities not to allow the use of premises except as notified in the General Land Register and zoning plan with respect to the properties situated in the excised area as detailed in GOI notification of February 5, 1977.
The petition had asked to fix responsibility on officials conniving with the encroachers.