Closure of Pakhowal road: Locked in, Ludhiana shopkeepers fume over traffic curbs, seek diversion plan
Already reeling under losses due to the pandemic, a section of businesses fear further losses as customers are unable to come to their establishments due to construction on the Pakhowal Road. The section from Sidhwan Canal Bridge to Hero Bakery Chowk has been closed in view of the ongoing project for construction of a rail overbridge (ROB) and two rail under bridges (RUBs).
This has resulted in another ‘lockdown’ for over 50 traders whose shops are located on the 500m stretch.
Authorities had barricaded the road overnight without giving shopkeepers or commuters a heads up.
Manager of petrol pump situated near Pakhowal road railway crossing, Bobby Verma said, “All roads leading to the petrol pump have been blocked. The situation is even worse than the Covid lockdown announced by the government as customer footfall was comparatively high at that time. The authorities are also not telling us the exact time period for which the roads will remain blocked but the project will take months for completion.”
Manager of a meat shop, Gagan said, “Our business has reduced by 80% in just two days after the construction work started as many customers are not showing because of the blocked roads. Home deliveries are also low as many suspect the shop is closed.”
Shopkeepers said the authorities should have come up with a diversion. MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal said, “We understand the problems being faced by the shopkeepers but the project is being taken up for the benefit of shopkeepers and the public at large. I will direct the officials to visit the area and make changes in diversion plans, if possible, to facilitate the shopkeepers.”
The project being taken up under the Smart City mission is set to be completed in August 2021.
The owner of a garment shop near the railway crossing, Siroj Kumar said that he had inaugurated the shop on Sunday and the civic body had dug up the road outside his shop on Tuesday.
“As the road has been blocked, there is no footfall. Now, I am mulling shifting to Vikas Nagar area. The construction company might take months to complete the project and we will not be able to run our business in these circumstances,” said Kumar.