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Lucknow has finally found its ‘dharna sthal’

UP government declared the ‘parking and public convenience area’ of Eco Garden as the only place where one can stage protests.

lucknow Updated: Apr 20, 2018 11:07 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh,Dharna Sthal
The parking area of Kanshi Ram Memorial (Eco Garden) on old Jail Road will be the new dharna sthal.(HT Photo)

In a move that will go a long way in streamlining traffic in city areas, all the protests and demonstrations will now be held only at ‘public convenience and parking area’ of Kanshi Ram Memorial (Eco Garden) on old Jail Road.

The designated spot for dharnas comes days after the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court directed the state government to check protests on roads.

While earlier the state government had also announced the Laxman Mela ground as designated spot for small dharnas (less than 300 people), it has now amended its order and declared the ‘parking and public convenience area’ of Eco Garden as the only place where one can stage protests.

“The last week’s decision of turning two spots into dharna sthals has been revised to avoid confusion and restrict all demonstrations at one place only. Now, no demonstration will be allowed at Laxman Mela ground,” said Kaushal Raj Sharma, district magistrate, Lucknow.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court had taken suo motu cognisance of a recent protest by BP Ed candidates who had blocked the Vidhan Sabha Marg for over three hours causing traffic jams in crowded areas of the city.

It had slammed the district administration for its callous approach and ordered it to stop such protests in the heart of the city.

Interestingly, it took over 10 years for the district administration to assign a designated demonstration point, the demand for which was first raised when protests opposite Vidhan Sabha started creating traffic bottlenecks on a regular basis in 2008.

“In 2009, the dharna sthal was shifted to Jhulelal Park in front of Nadwa and later to Shaheed Smarak. In 2011, the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) first began the exercise to establish a designated demonstration point and shortlisted an area of around 25,000 square metres at the Gomti bank near Lucknow University at a cost of Rs 3 crore. The LDA initiated the move after para teachers desecrated the monuments set up in honour of martyrs at Shaheed Smarak during a demonstration in September 2010,” he added.

During the SP rule (2012 to 2017) too, the search for a suitable demonstration point was launched but nothing materialized and the district administration proposed to make Laxman Mela ground as temporary demonstration ground.

After the proposal was declined, the district administration again proposed a new dharna sthal—Bansal ki Bagiya. The administration also submitted Rs 2 crore to the LDA to ensure the early development of the site with rooms, shelter, toilets, connecting roads, potable water facility and public addressing system.

But, here too, things didn’t get materialised due to some legal issues.

First Published: Apr 20, 2018 11:05 IST