Protest called by the joint action committee against the anti-trader policies of the UT administration evoked a mix response with not many traders gathering at Sector-17 Plaza on Thursday.
The joint committee comprise 11 different associations of the city. The gathering largely comprising employees of the traders raised anti-administration slogans and demanded rollback of collector rates, transfer of leasehold to freehold, amendment in building bylaws and withdrawal of Rs 500 penalty on misuse charges. The administration recently enhanced the collector rates by up to 50, thus pushing up the rates of properties in the city.
In support, the shopkeepers of Sector 17 closed shops for two hours from 12 pm to 2 pm.
A delegation of traders held a meeting with UT finance secretary VK Singh to discuss the issues. Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) president Charanjit Singh said the finance secretary assured that the issue pertaining to misuse penalty of Rs 500 would be resolved very shortly.
The traders have been asked to meet UT adviser KK Sharma for finding a solution to the issues raised by them.
Chairman of Chandigarh Industrial Converted Plot Owners Association Chander Verma said they had a healthy discussion with the finance secretary. "We have fixed a meeting with the UT adviser to take the matter to logical conclusion," Verma said.
Senior member of CBM Vinod Joshi said the response of finance secretary was positive about their demands except for transfer of leasehold to freehold.
Industry and Converted Plot Owners Association, Chandigarh Industrial Association, Property Consultant Association, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, Chandigarh Business Council, Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC) and Chandigarh Citizens Council took part in the protest.
Industries Association of Chandigarh and Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, having more than 1,800 members, did not take part in the protest. The finance secretary advised the members of the joint committee to bring both associations on board for finding concrete solutions for overall growth of the traders.
The traders violated section 144 of the CrPC being imposed by the administration and the cops did little to make the protesters leave.