The action plan of the residents of localities around the Bhagtanwala Dump to 'gherao' mayor Bakshi Ram Arora and submit a charter of their demands to him fell flat on Tuesday as Arora, who has already evoked criticism by the protesting residents for failing to visit the dump site, again evaded the protesters on Tuesday.
Tension prevailed in the area as the residents, who marched from Bhagtanwala Dump to the Town Hall via Gurdwara Shaheedan and the city bus stand, were not allowed to enter the Town Hall by the cops deployed there.
A scuffle ensued between the cops and the protestors following which only a few people from among the residents were allowed to enter the Town Hall, while the rest of them were stopped at the gate where they burnt the effigy of the Punjab government and raised slogans against the government and the Amritsar municipal corporation.
The workers of the MC, who were present at the spot, also assembled in a group and raised counter-
slogans, favouring the MC.
The residents of localities around Bhagtanwala dump had been planning to 'gherao' the mayor for the past many days as they were anguished over the apathetic attitude of the local BJP leaders and the MC officials towards their plight.
Only a handful of them were allowed to meet municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal, who agreed to fulfil a few of their demands pertaining to the dump. "We were stopped at the main gate by the police and the MC's workers and only a few people were allowed to enter and meet the municipal commissioner," said Sanjay Sharma, a resident.
The residents alleged that they were subjected to roughhousing by the police and the MC's staff and were barred from entering the Town Hall premises. "Only a few persons were allowed to enter the Town Hall to meet the Municipal Commissioner as the Mayor was not present in his office," Sharma added.
Mandeep Singh Manna, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) leader, said that politics of greed played by the SAD-BJP leaders in Punjab had intensified the controversy surrounding the Bhagtanwala Dump. "To take people's minds off real issues affecting the state, the SAD-BJP alliance has given birth to a similar controversy at Jalandhar too," he said.
Municipal commissioner Sabharwal said that efforts would be made to fulfil their demands pertaining to the dump. "Besides, care would also be taken to ensure that whatever action is taken is in compliance with the high court orders," he said.
He added that the MC has assured them that garbage would not be dumped there, while the existing mound would be leveled and covered with mud.