Karimpura Market Association members and area shopkeepers, whose shops were demolished due to an “error” by the municipal corporation (MC) in January this year, are infuriated over the unfulfilled promise of the state government for providing them compensation.
They say three months have passed, but the authorities have failed to provide compensation to them.
A team of the MC, on January 19, had gone to Karimpura area to demolish various encroachments including 48 shops. The MC officials demolished at least 11 shops that had apparently not done any encroachment. This caused resentment, and different political parties tried to score a point and demanded that compensation be given to the affected shopkeepers.
The matter through different political leaders also reached the deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who asked that an inquiry should be held in this regard. A three-member committee was constituted in the case that discussed the technicalities with all stake holders. The committee included MC as well as public works department (PWD) officials.
As per sources, a demarcation of the shops was also held so that the actual encroachments could come to the light. Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal general secretary Sunil Mehra said, “Compensation is the right of shopkeepers whose shops were demolished by the officials without any reason. Action should be taken against the officials, who were present at the time of the drive, so that there is accountability if such action is taken in future.”
“Officials allow illegal constructions in different parts of the city by taking some kind of benefits from the offenders, and later come to demolish them. This practice should be stopped and all those officials, under whom, the encroachments take place should be held responsible for this,” Verma said.
On the other hand, Congress is also all set to take up the matter and hold protests over nonpayment of compensation to the affected shopkeepers.
Congress councillor Rakesh Prasher said, “This has exposed the real face of SAD-BJP that doesn’t care about the poor shopkeepers whose business has been ruined due to the action. Compensation should be provided immediately, as it has been long time, since the wrong demolition took place.”
It is pertinent to mention here that three officials were held responsible in the matter and were transferred from Ludhiana MC to other districts.
However, deputy commissioner Rajat Agarwal said, “A compensation of `3 lakh has been worked out for the affected shopkeepers that will be provided to them soon.”
“There were contradictory claims in some cases and some shopkeepers had demanded re-demarcation. The exercise of re-demarcation was carried out due to which the committee report got delayed,” Agarwal said.