The local residents and the municipal corporation are at loggerheads over the civic body's planned demolition of illegal construction and encroachment on both sides of scheduled roads. Which connect the city to the national highway.
Showing resentment over the decision of the MC to demolish illegal construction, as many as 500 residents and shopkeepers on Monday blocked traffic for around two hours near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib. Traffic jams could be witnessed at many places and traffic coming from Sirhind, Rajpura and Nabha was diverted.
Taking a serious note of violation of Punjab Schedule Roads Act, the high court has directed the civic authorities to clear five-metre area on both sides of schedule roads including Sirhind Road, Nabha Road, Sangrur Road and Rajpura Road before April 20. Following the directions, MC officials sent notices to residents and shopkeepers, asking them to vacate the places.
Speaking at the protest site, Baljinder Singh Dhillon, representative of the residents of Sirhind Road, said that they were paying the house tax and other taxes for the past many years, and now the MC had termed their shops and residents as illegal. "MC officials have sent us the notices on wrong names so that we would not present our cases before the administration. Moreover, the authorities failed to make us understand the reasons behind the planned demolition," he said.
He said instead of carrying out demolition process, the authorities should find some other way out and should ask to government to intervene in the issue for public interest.
Meanwhile, mayor Ajitpal Singh Kohli said the demolition process was stalled for a day as people were asked to present their cases. "Constructions done before the notification of schedule roads would not be demolished," he promised. "Teams have been constituted to scrutinise the proper documents before demolition of the buildings," he said, adding that action was taken on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court. The MC has also written to the Punjab government to find some other alternative to give some respite to the residents.
Punjab rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra and Congress MLA Brahm Mohindra visited the spot to pacify the protestors, who plan to meet local bodies minister Bhagat Chunni Lal on Tuesday.