Shopkeepers of Chaura Bazaar have claimed that despite submitting documents last week that they had not encroached upon government land, the municipal corporation has served them demolition notices.
As a result, the shopkeepers of Chaura Bazaar, Karimpura Bazaar and Ghumar Mandi, along with Heera Singh Gabria and BJP leader Parveen Bansal, again met municipal corporation (MC) commissioner regarding the issue on Monday.
The MC had issued notices to these shopkeepers of Chaura Bazaar on May 9 that the encroachments would be removed on the directions of Punjab and Haryana high court. There are around 350 encroachments in Chaura Bazaar.
Somnath Grover, a shopkeeper of Chaura Bazaar, said, “We are not encroachers, as 2.5-feet land was allotted to us in front of our shops by MC in 1972. We are ready to pay the pending amount of rent to MC, if there is any. We have provided the documents to MC.”
When contacted, MC commissioner Shruti Singh said they were following the orders of high court.
“The shopkeepers of Chaura Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi and Karimpura came to meet me on Monday. We will look into the documents provided by them.”
“Now, we can conduct a drive on Tuesday. Then anti-encroachment drive will be conducted after May 16, as we don't have required police force. We will follow the action plan,” she said.
Meanwhile, mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria also visited Chaura Bazaar market on Monday. He claimed that he had inspected the documents of shops in Chaura Bazaar and these were found true.
“The shopkeepers were allotted 2.5-feet land in front of their shops. So they are not encroachers.
If any shopkeeper has encroached area beyond 2.5 feet, then action will be taken against them,” mayor said.
He said no carts would be allowed to stand in front of shops.
SAD leader Heera Singh Gabria said the shopkeepers had met him and provided the documents. “We met MC commissioner, who assured to inspect the documents,” Gabria said.
Supporting the shopkeepers of Chaura Bazaar, he said they were not encroachers.
Meanwhile, Congress councillor Parminder Mehta claimed that the SAD- BJP leaders were playing politics on this issue. “The shopkeepers have provided documents many times to the MC officials, who failed to present actual document in the high court. I suggest the shopkeepers to keep their documents in the court to prove their point. The mayor should call an all party meeting to discuss the issue.”
Sources also revealed that political pressure was being put up on MC officials against anti-encroachment drive in other areas too. The MC had removed around 90 encroachments from across the city in the past week.