Faced with public protests, Patiala municipal corporation (MC) has now postponed its demolition drive against illegal constructions and encroachments till April 22.
On Thursday, the MC had made all arrangements to carry out the demolition of shops along roads, but protests forced the officials to put it off.
Mayor Ajitpal Singh Kohli said he had written to MC commissioner Gurluvleen Singh Sidhu to defer the demolition drive as chances of law and order problems were high.
"Exercising my powers, I have written to the MC commissioner citing the sensitive nature of the issue and the larger interest of society," said Kohli.
The mayor who pacified the protesters said speeches by representatives of shopkeepers were provocative and posed a threat to the security of residents. "I will personally meet chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to find some solution to the problem."
Sidhu said following a communiqué from the mayor, they had postponed the demolition drive.
Earlier, tension prevailed on Rajpura Road and Sirhind Road as hundreds of shopkeepers prevented the MC from demolishing their shops. Police personnel and district administration officials, including sub-divisional magistrate Anil Garg, remained on tenterhooks the whole day. The protesters blocked Rajpura Road for an hour, disrupting traffic.
The shopkeepers' representative Narendera Singla threatened the MC saying shop owners would lie before bulldozers and JCBs if the civic body officials tried to raze the shops.
"We will seek legal recourse, but not allow the demolition to take place," Singla said. "We will file a petition and insist that officials give appropriate reasons for demolition." He said officials had assured shopkeepers of finding some other way to deal with the issue.
Kohli said shopkeepers along Sirhind and Rajpura Roads had approached him seeking some time to produce documents that would exempt their shops from being demolished.
Taking serious note of violation of Punjab Schedule Roads Act, the Punjab and Haryana high court had directed authorities to clear five square metres on both sides of schedule roads, including Sirhind Road, Nabha Road, Sangrur Road and Rajpura Road before April 20.