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Chandigarh shutdown: PM regrets inconvenience, orders probe

india Updated: Sep 13, 2015 18:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of new terminal at Chandigarh airport. (Photo credit: @PIB_India)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday directed officials to fix responsibility for inconvenience caused to residents of Chandigarh by his visit, including the closure of schools and the temporary shutdown of a cremation ground.

Local residents seethed with anger as they were unable to cremate their dead during the visit by the Prime Minister because the cremation ground was converted into a makeshift parking lot.

Soon after winding up his visit, Modi tweeted he had ordered an inquiry into the problems caused by his trip.

“The inconvenience caused to citizens in Chandigarh, especially shutting of schools due to my visit is regretted. It was totally avoidable,” he posted. “An inquiry will be held & responsibility will be fixed for the inconvenience caused to the people of Chandigarh.”

Mourners headed to the cremation ground in Sector 25 on Friday morning were denied entry for security reasons and sent to another crematorium at Manimajra.

The cremation ground in Sector 25 is located next to the venue where the Prime Minister addressed a rally. The sprawling cremation ground was converted into a makeshift parking lot for people attending the rally, local residents said.

A senior officer of the Union Territory’s administration said residents had been told to delay the last rites of the dead “for a few hours”. He said mourners could cremate their dead after the Prime Minister left the venue of the rally.

Tight security arrangements were put in place for Modi’s visit. The traffic police diverted traffic from key routes used by Modi's motorcade. Ambulances had to take longer routes to reach hospitals, including PGIMER.

The Chandigarh administration on Thursday ordered the closure of all state-run and private schools across the Union Territory in view of the visit. Police also rounded up a few Congress leaders on Thursday night to prevent protests.

The restrictions evoked widespread condemnation from local residents, who accused the administration of harassing them.

“The administration could have at least given prior notice (about) the ban on entry to the cremation ground in Sector 25,” one resident said.

Earlier on Friday, Modi inaugurated the new international terminal of the Chandigarh airport during a brief ceremony at SAS Nagar. The new terminal is expected to be operational by October 19.

Read:Cremation ground turns parking lot for PM Modi's Chandigarh rally