Upping the ante in their protest over the closure of two parking lots --- Empire store and Sahib Singh --- in Sector 17, traders have decided to observe a blackout (shut power supply to all showrooms and business establishments in the sector) from 7 pm to 9pm on Thursday. Earlier, on Wednesday, the entire sector remained closed to business till 1pm. Traders also raised slogans against municipal corporation officials.
Neeraj Bajaj, president of Business Promotion Council, Sector 17, said, “We will intensify the protest even further if the decision to close the parkings is not revoked.”
Meanwhile, in a sign that that the issue has also driven a wedge in the BJP, senior leader Harmohan Dhawan led the protests on Wednesday and lashed out at the mayor Arun Sood.
“The mayor failed to take any party leader into confidence before deciding to shut the two lots. The decision is against the traders and the mayor is just building castles in air. He lacks knowledge of ground reality. We will oppose the decision tooth and nail,” Dhawan added.
EIGHT BJP COUNCILLORS APPROACH COMMISSIONER
Late on Wednesday, eight BJP councillors submitted their demand for opening of the lots to MC commissioner B Purusharta instead of the mayor.
BJP councillor Satinder Singh said, “We are against the closure of parking lots. We have asked the commissioner to put it on the agenda for the House meeting. The decision taken in the finance and contract committee meeting about closure was arbitrarily and no councillor was taken into confidence. This has set a wrong precedent.”
When contacted over his own party councillors bypassing him, mayor Arun Sood said, “I am not aware of councillors meeting the commissioner. I am only doing my job.” CHAOS AT LOTS
THAT ARE STILL OPEN NEAR SHOWROOMS
The second day of the multi-level basement parking in Sector 17 on Wednesday saw about 650 cars parked there, but there was chaos in the older parking lots to the rear of the showrooms that were preferred by a large number of people during the day.
ISSUE HAS BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD, SAYS MP KIRRON KHER
In her first comments on the issue, Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher said that there had been some misunderstanding over the issue. “The parking lots have not been closed permanently. All we have said is let us try and check the parking chaos in Sector 17. We should try using the multilevel parking. If traders feel they will run into losses, we can reconsider the decision. The backlanes are open for parking.” On senior leader Harmohan Dhawan joining the protests, she said, “Dhawan is an independent-minded person and we respect him. We are not against him. I feel he does not need any publicity. If it (the closure of parking lots does not work, we will open it again. I have my showroom in the same area.”