Shopkeepers disrupt anti-encroachment drive on Ferozepur road, block traffic

MondayProtesters block traffic near Aarti chowk on Ferozepur Road in Ludhiana on Monday.

The removal of encroachments and vehicles from the whole stretch of Ferozepur road and service lanes on Monday was disrupted when the shopkeepers gathered and blocked Aarti Chowk.

The shopkeepers from Aarti Chowk, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Aggar Nagar and various other areas have now not only announced protest on Tuesday when all shops will remain closed, they also criticised police and MC officials for such harsh action and raised slogans like 'Nagar Nigam Zindabad' at Aarti Chowk in the evening.

It all started around 5 pm when MC tehbazaari superintendent Naveen Malhotra reached Aarti Chowk and started the anti-encroachment drive as per the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to get the service lanes vacated.

In the process, the MC loaded four trucks with 28 bikes from Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, head post office and other places. A cooler of famous Chawla Chicken and two gensets were also taken away.

Reportedly, a genset and a decorated gate worth Rs 1 lakh belonging to a marriage palace, Mehar Meadows, was demolished.

The situation took an ugly turn when the JCB machine being used by the MC to pick generators slightly damaged a generator of a sweet shop.

Preponing their protest scheduled for Tuesday, the shopkeepers gathered at Aarti Chowk and started raising slogans against the MC and the whole stretch was blocked.

However, Malhotra told Ludhiana Newsline, "I was only doing my duty as per orders of HC. We had already warned all shopkeepers on Ferozepur road to remove their stuff on their own but they never listened. Now whether they protest or do anything they want, we will follow what HC has said and service lanes will be cleared."

"The genset was not damaged and just got some scratches because of JCB which is natural," he added.

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