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JMC’s anti-encroachment drive, yellow line marking spark protests – Jammu Kashmir Latest News | Tourism | Breaking News J&K

Shopkeepers and people during protest at Shivaji Chowk in Jammu. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Nov 20: Anti-encroachment drive and yellow line marking outside shops by the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) today sparked protests by the businessmen community here today, officials said.
An anti-encroachment team of the JMC removed a shutter of Prem Hardware at Shivaji Chowk in the posh Gandhi Nagar area and also pasted a notice informing its owners that the building has been sealed, they said.

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The officials said the action triggered protests by businessmen of the area who observed the shutdown, accusing the JMC of highhandedness. Members of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) also joined the protest.
“This is a 40-year-old store which was razed by the JMC without any prior notice or intimation. If they had any problem with the structure, they should have followed law and a notice to the businessman before taking any action,” President Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Arun Gupta said.
Gupta, who joined the protesters, said the business community is already suffering badly due to the COVID-19 situation over the past two years and such actions have a crippling impact on a number of families.
“We will not tolerate such type of hooliganism,” he said and warned of agitation if “such type of unjust” action is not stopped forthwith.
Gourav Gupta, Secretary General Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries said that the action by the JMC is intolerable.
“Before initiating any anti-encroachment drive, JMC must ensure that the shopkeeper or businessman should be intimated or notice should be served to them”, he added.
However, the shopkeepers and the people also blocked the vehicular movement near Shivji Chowk.
On getting information, ADC Law and Order, SSP Jammu Chandan Kohli reached the spot. Officials from JMC also reached the spit and assured them that they would look into the matter.
On the assurance, the protestors dispersed and vehicular movement was restored.
Sources in the Police Department said that the drive was to demolish the godown of the Prem Hardware, but the JMC authorities removed the shutter of the showroom, causing huge loss to hardware store owner.
Meanwhile, the shopkeepers in Moti Bazaar also staged protest against the JMC for laying down yellow lines in front of their shops, the officials said.
They said the JMC teams laid yellow lines in front of shops in Moti Bazaar, asking the shopkeepers not to display their goods beyond the marker.
Moti Bazaar Traders Association President Chandan Gupta threatened to intensify the protest if they are not allowed to keep their articles within two feet in front of their shutters.
“Till Monday if our demand is not redressed, we will intensify our protest against JMC for its anti-shopkeepers move”, said Chandan Gupta, Moti Bazaar Businessmen Association.
However, senior citizens have questioned the credibility of the political leaders especially of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who remained silent over the ongoing anti-encroachment drive by the JMC in Jammu district.
“A very old shop in the Shivaji Chowk area of Gandhi Nagar was dismantled by the JMC officials during anti-encroachment drive today”, senior citizens said and questioned JMC over its drive.
“Why no action was taken against the alleged encroachers in the past two decades. Now, when the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir has become Union Territory, the JMC started its anti-encroachment drive without serving any notice to the shop owners”, the senior citizens said.
They termed the action of the JMC as grave injustice with the shopkeepers, who are already hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic.

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