Around 200 shopkeepers and residents of many villages blocked Jalandhar-Chandigarh road for four hours here on Wednesday in protest against the proposed four-laning of Ropar-Phagwara road.
After observing a shutdown for four hours, the shopkeepers of Chandigarh road, Banga road and Rahon road sat on dharna at Chandigarh chowk, demanding that the government should shelve this project. The government had issued a notification last week for acquisition of the land the four-laning.
Members of the Nawanshahr Welfare Association alleged that SAD-BJP government was trying to ruin their businesses.
Addressing the gathering, association vice-president Pardeep Chandla said, “the SAD-BJP government has been deliberately carrying out this project as we had not voted to candidate of the ruling party during the assembly elections.”
He said that they had given several representations to the government, including the chief minister, requesting not to go ahead with the project as it would affect their businesses.
He said that the government could have planned a bypass for Nawanshahr to ease traffic as was being done for smaller cities such as Nakodar, Makhu, Mudki and Ropar.
Balwinder Singh, another shopkeeper, alleged that the proposed elevated roads or flyovers would not solve the problem of traffic jam and would instead increase congestion on this road.
“There are around 750 shops on both sides of road, who will be evicted if the four-laning is done,” said Singh.
The shopkeepers for the first time got the support of opposition political parties, including Congress, Communist Party of India (M) and Bahujan Samaj Party, whose workers joined the Protesting traders. They criticised the state government for ignoring shopkeepers' demands.
Satveer Singh, the district president of Congress party, alleged that his party stood with shopkeepers and he would take up the issue with their senior party leaders.
The traffic on the road resumed only after the Nawanshahr SDM Neeraj Gupta reached at Chandigarh chowk and assured that the administration would suggest to the government to go for a bypass rather than four-laning.
The public works department (PWD) had already appointed a New Delh-based firm, Consulting Engineering Services (CES) Private Limited, to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) of the proposed four-laning of 82-km Ropar- Nawanshahr-Phagwara road, which will submit its report by March 31.
In the past, the government had shelved a bypass road project aimed at to ease traffic on Jalandhar-Chandigarh road in the district after facing opposition from farmers.