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Commuters harried as Panchkula road blocked for six hours

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | March 02, 2023 05:21 PM

Panchkula:Commuters had a tough time as the main road of the city leading to the housing board chowk remained blocked for more than six hours due to a massive protest by panches and sarpanches from across Haryana.

The police had closed the road from the Sector 8-17 roundabout to the housing board chowk from 12 noon in view of the protest. Local commuters had to take a detour from the Command Hospital light point to reach their destinations.
The protesters started gathering at the Shalimar ground in Sector 5 from 10 am moving towards the Chandigarh-Panchkula border at 12 noon. They were stopped by the police at the sector 8-17 roundabout. The protesters were informed that OSD to CM Bhupeshwar Dayal would be coming to hold talks with them. As Dayal did not reach the site on time, the protesters continued their march. The police tried to stop them and a clash ensued, forcing the latter to resort to lathicharge. More than 30 protesters were injured.

Meanwhile, Dayal reached the border to hold talks with the protesters. However, they were adamant on the withdrawal of the e-tendering policy. After their negotiations with Dayal failed, the police again lathicharged the protesters for more than 20 minutes.

President of the Haryana Sarpanch Association Ranbir Singh Samain said the Haryana Government had made e-tendering mandatory for works worth more than 2 lakh this year and they had decided to oppose it tooth and nail. He said in such a situation, a Sarpanch cannot build even one street drain at his level. The elected representatives were being made slaves of officers. He also demanded the right to recall the MLAs. Samain said the agitation would continue until their demands were met.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Naveen Jaihind said a Sarpanch was like the Chief Minister of the village and if he did not have budget, how would he develop it? He said that through e-tendering, private companies would get contracts, which would lead to corruption and new problems.

25 policemen injured, case registered

A police spokesman said the protesters were informed about the Section 144 imposed, but they did not heed to their advice and attacked police personnel with stones. He said around 25 policemen were injured in the incident. The police have registered a case against the protesters under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323, 332, 353 325, 186, 188 and 283 of the Indian Penal Code at the Sector 14 police station.

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