36 years on, Amritsar traders await relief - ECAS Punjab

36 years on, Amritsar traders await relief

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GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 5

UK MP seeks probe

  • London: Ahead of the 36th anniversary of Operation Bluestar, British Labour Party MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi has sought an independent inquiry into the then Margaret Thatcher-led British government's "involvement" in the operation in June 1984. IANS

The tenants of shops who were displaced from the vicinity of the Golden Temple complex in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar 36 years ago are still struggling to get justice.

The state government had shortlisted 133 affected traders, offered them commercial booths measuring 27 sq foot under one-time settlement at Guru Teg Bahadur Avenue under the Mall Mandi Rehabilitation Scheme, but the collector rate of land, quoted at Rs 38,400 per square yard, was challenged by some of the beneficiaries.

Parvinder Singh Arora, who was into cosmetics business adjacent to the Akal Takht, said after the Operation Black Thunder in 1988, the affected shop owners were allotted alternative sites at one-fourth of the collector rate, which was Rs 4,000 per square yard then.

"We demanded to be treated at par with the owners. Why should we be charged exorbitantly when we also lost our livelihood? When none of the successive governments listened to our grievances, 42 among us knocked the door of the High Court and then the Supreme Court," he said.

After a decades-long legal battle, the collector rate of the site was settled at Rs 14,450 per square yard for them by the Amritsar authorities in October 2017.

To reach a conclusion, they all agreed to furnish the price, yet the issue lingered on for want of government's nod.

Amritsar Improvement Trust chairman Dinesh Bassi said at a House meeting held on January 31, 2020, a resolution in this regard was sent to the Local Bodies Department office, seeking an approval. "May be it got delayed due to the Covid crisis," he said.

Minister for Local Bodies Brahm Mohindra said, "Since the time I took over the department, no document pertaining the case came to my notice. As soon as I receive it, I will take action. I have to see the standing orders whether it is under my discretion or it has to be tabled in the Vidhan Sabha."

During the 1984 Army attack on the Golden Temple complex, all shops in the vicinity of the Akal Takht, Bazar Munarian, Shaheed Market and Thada Sahib were burnt to ashes.

Jaswinder Singh, whose father Rajinder Singh had committed suicide by jumping into the sarovar of the Golden Temple in 1993 due to depression, said, "My father had a flourishing artificial jewellery trade running from a rental shop. When we could not get justice, he killed himself. My mother raised us with difficulties."



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