In a much-awaited move, the Batala municipal council on Friday carried out a massive anti-encroachment drive amid some resistance in the Loha Road market.
The drive, which started around 2pm, continued for more than two hours during which MC officials confiscated a large quantity of goods.
According to the information, many shopkeepers on the Dera road had rented out space in front of their shops to other people, which left very less space for passers-by. Also, many shopkeepers on Loha Mandi and City road were displaying their wares outside shops, causing congestion in the entire market. The parked vehicles outside the shops on the busy city road further led to congestion.
The MC had asked the police department to provide them with adequate force so that the drive could be carried out smoothly. A team from city police station accompanied them during this drive, which later turned into a "biased exercise" when the MC officials allegedly resisted from removing some big encroachments made by politically-influential shopkeepers.
Initially, shopkeepers of Loha Mandi objected to the drive. They complained that they were neither given any notice nor were informed in advance about the drive. However, due to the presence of the police, the drive was carried out smoothly.
Though the MC officials removed encroachments made by vendors and rickshaw pullers on the city road, they resisted to take action against the shopkeepers, who had encroached more than 10-15 feet of the road with their goods and vehicles.
When contacted, MC executive officer Manmohan Singh Randhawa said in the first phase of the anti-encroachment drive, they had cleared some temporary encroachments and in the next phase, the council was going to act tough against all shopkeepers, who had made encroachments causing disruption in the smooth flow of traffic.