The shutdown called by the Patiala Vyopar Bachao Sangharsh Committee (PVBSC) against the imposition of "hefty"tax on commercial properties garnered "overwhelming"response from the Royal City.
The protesting shopkeepers along with plot holders, property dealers and colonisers associations and Gau Sewa Dal also burnt a symbolic effigy of the Akali-BJP-led Punjab government and submitted a memorandum to sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Gurpal Singh Chahal.
Almost all main markets in the city remained closed since morning, including Lohari Gate Market, Arya Samaj, Sheran Wala Gate Market, Book Market, Dharampura Adalat Kila Bajar, Gau Shala Market and Cloth Market, Tripadi, Sadar Bajar, Gurubaksh Colony, Bartan Bajar, Gur Mandi and Indira Market.
Also, the commuters had to face traffic jams on the Bathinda-Chandigarh road (NH 64) for more than an hour. The sloganeering shopkeepers launched a protest across the city demanding immediate cut in the property tax. They gathered at the Fountain Chowk and blocked the National Highway (NH) 64.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Rakesh Gupta, president of the PVBSC, said traders and businessmen extended their support to the agitation, now we would wait for the government's response to the successful shutdown.
When asked if the government failed to respond to their agitation, he said: "After few days we will plan other protest rally that may go across the state, but the agitation will continue until the government cuts the tax on property,"he added.
Meanwhile, Patiala mayor Amaninder Bajaj termed the protesters as "Congress supporters", stating: "Most of the protesters are Congress activists, who by opposing the tax, are opposing the development of the city and the state at large."
He said as lakhs of people in the city were taking the advantage of the special camps being organised for the property tax collection; it was only the Congress supporters who were instigating the traders for the protest.
When asked that the traders had been opposing the imposition of the hefty property tax, the mayor said the tax had not been revised for the last 20 years, but now they should cooperate with the government, as the taxed money would be utilised for the development of the city.