Even as the Patiala municipal corporation (MC) geared up for its Thursday plan to demolish illegal buildings along scheduled roads in the city on, local shopkeepers and residents on Wednesday blocked traffic at Khanda Chowk near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib for around seven hours.
The traffic blockade by the protestors put commuters in a lot of inconvenience as traffic coming from Sirhind, Rajpura and Nabha was diverted.
But the MC remained steadfast in its decision to carry out the demolition process on April 19.
Taking serious note of violation of Punjab Schedule Roads Act, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the authorities to clear five-metre area on the both sides of scheduled roads, including Sirhind road, Nabha Road, Sangrur Road and Rajpura Road, before April 20. "We have written to deputy commissioner Vikas Garg and senior superintendent of police Gurpreet Singh Gill to make proper security arrangements on the day of demolition as chances of disturbance are very high," said Nirmalpreet Singh, municipal town planner.
Ruing the hollow promises of the MC officials to organise a meeting of the affected people with local bodies minister Bhagat Chunni Lal, Prabhjit Singh, a representative of the shopkeepers, said, "We will not let the demolition take place, come what may. We have been living here and running our shops here for years."
He added, "The authorities have failed to make us understand the reasons behind the demolition plan."
But the MC officials say they have sent notices to all shopkeepers to present their cases with proper documentation so that constructions done before the notification of scheduled roads would not be demolished. Mayor Ajitpal Singh Kohli said no injustice would be done.
"We have given relaxation to number of shopkeepers taking serious note of all parameters of law. Moreover, Patiala is not the first district to carry out such demolition. Illegal constructions have been already demolished at various places in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar," Kohli said, while urging people to maintain peace.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Brahm Mohindra insisted that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal intervene in the matter.