Anna Hazare, traders to hold rallies at Ramlila Maidan on March 28, expect traffic chaos

The city’s traders associations have announced a “mega rally” to protest against the ongoing sealing drive at Ramlila Maidan. Meanwhile, social activist Anna Hazare is already observing an indefinite hunger strike there, demanding an action plan on Lokpal appointment.

delhi Updated: Mar 27, 2018 15:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Anna hazare,Traders rally,Mega rally
Protesters at Anna Hazare’s hunger strike at Ramlila Maidan on Monday. Hazare, who had grabbed headlines seven years ago with his India Against Corruption movement at Ramlila Maidan, had returned to the protest venue on Friday to launch a fresh agitation.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Widespread traffic chaos is expected in areas of central Delhi on March 28 as separate public rallies are scheduled to be held at Ramlila Maidan on the same day.

The city’s traders associations have announced a “mega rally” to protest against the ongoing sealing drive at Ramlila Maidan. Meanwhile, social activist Anna Hazare is already observing an indefinite hunger strike there, demanding an action plan on Lokpal appointment, remunerative crop prices and election reforms.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and Chamber of Trade Industries (CTI) — two major traders’ bodies in city representing over 3,500 traders organisations — will hold a joint rally at Ramlila Maidan on March 28.

The traders’ protest is expected to see participation of nearly 1 lakh shopkeepers, their employees as well as family members, CAIT members said.

“Traders will not send their children to school or colleges on this day as a mark of protest. We want the Delhi government to pass a Bill in the current Assembly session for a moratorium on sealing and forward the same to the Centre for its approval,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of CAIT.

Read: Few turn up on Day 3 of Anna Hazare’s hunger strike in Delhi; leader loses 3.5 kg after fasting

Traders’ bodies have also issued calls for a ‘Delhi Bandh’ on March 28 demanding that the Centre bring forth a Bill or an ordinance to stop the sealing drive in Delhi.

“Initially there were plans to organise separate rallies, but that would have deviated us from the cause of organising this event. Finally last week, we decided to come out of the party politics, gather at one platform and raise our voice against the arbitrary sealing in Delhi,” said Vinod Patel, president of All Delhi Traders, Vyapari and Workers Association (ADTVWA).

“We have booked 75% of the Ramlila Ground and rest will be used for Anna Hazare’s movement. To avoid chaos and confusion, we have arranged for 1,000 volunteers, 150 male and 50 female bouncers and another 50 guards to manage crowd near entrances,” said Vinod Basin, member of the ADTVWA.

“We have made preparations and depending on the turnout at the venue, we will deploy more force, if required,” said Garima Bhatnagar, joint commissioner, Delhi Traffic Police.

Over 150 buses, e-richshaws will be engaged for bringing the traders from various markets to the venue. “The purpose is to show traders power at historic Ramlila Ground and demanding the central and state government not to sit as silent spectator and come in action to protect the trade and traders of Delhi from the clutches of sealing,” said Brijesh Goel convenor of CTI. “In last four months, 6,000 commercial establishments have been sealed, and if continues then 30-40 lakh families will lose their source of income,” he said.

Read: Anna Hazare begins indefinite fast for Lokpal in Delhi

3,000 markets shut

During a press conference on Monday, Parveen Khandelwal of CAIT said that 3,000 wholesale and retail markets will observe the bandh on March 28. These included Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazar, South Extension, Rajouri Garden, Chawri Bazar, Lajpat Nagar, Laxmi Nagar.

“The monitoring committee has adopted an arbitrary mood in the matter of sealing and shops are being sealed without serving any show cause notice. To support the cause, transport and logistics sector has also extended its support and all transport companies will remain closed,” Khandelwal said.

Traders will also demand enquiry against the MCD officials for not utilising the money collected through conversion charge. “Even for the illegal construction and other mismanagement MCD officials are equally responsible so why they are left so far,” said Vinod Patel.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 08:15 IST