Earlier in the day, the shopkeepers gathered at the main Ghumar Mandi Chowk and raised slogans against the municipal corporation. To mark their protest, the shopkeepers also kept their shops closed and wore black ribbons.
Later, a delegation of shopkeepers from Ghumar Mandi met Joshi and demanded that paid parking in the area be withdrawn.
In a written complaint to Joshi, the shopkeepers alleged that on June 12, parking staff of the contractor reached the area with bouncers in a show of strength with a view to terrorise the trader community.
Shopkeepers alleged that they were being asked to pay `25 per square feet per day for leaving space before entrance to shops. They also alleged that parking fee was being charged for parking even outside the yellow line. Besides, even vehicles delivering goods to shops were being charged for parking, they added in the memorandum.
Following the meeting, MC commissioner Pradeep Kumar Agarwal directed zonal commissioner PS Ghuman to look into the complaints of the shopkeepers.
Even as the shopkeepers protested, both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came forward to support them.
“We pay road tax to the government, then how can the MC charge fee for parking vehicles on road which is actually not a parking lot. MC should arrange for a proper parking lot instead of starting paid parking on road,” said Parminder Mehta, a Congress leader.
Congress councillor of ward number 53 Gurpreet Gogi said, “The concept of paid parking is wrong. The MC should cancel the contract completely and not charge any amount for parking vehicles on road.”
A shopkeeper, Harpreet Singh Narula, said, “Paid parking is causing loss to shopkeepers, as the parking staff is forcing everybody to pay for parking, which had led to visitors skipping visits to the market. Even vehicles parked in front of our shops are charged. This is sheer hooliganism.”