Demolition drive suspended in Dharwad following opposition

Municipal officials accused of violating COVID-19 protocols

A demolition drive initiated by the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation(HDMC) on Saturday to clear the illegal structures at the super market in Dharwad was suspended after a while, following stiff resistance from shopkeepers and a few political leaders.

On Saturday, the HDMC officials began early morning operation under police cover to clear the illegal structures.

However as some shops were razed and as the news spread, a large number of shopkeepers gathered at the site protesting against the demolition drive during the lockdown.

Advocate M.M. Choudhary, who came to the spot with copies of a court order, confronted the municipal officials and sought to know how they could initiate the drive, when the matter was pending before the court.

However the municipal officials clarified that they were acting according to law. As Mr. Choudhary continued his argument with the officials, the police took him into custody.

A little later, former councillor and Congress leader Deepak Chinchore came to the spot and accused the municipal officials of taking undue advantage of the lockdown to target the petty vendors.

He said that at a time when the officials were supposed to take steps to check the spread of COVID-19, they were creating problems for the poor vendors. Following his objection, the municipal authorities suspended the operation and returned.

Later, addressing a hurriedly called press conference, KPCC media analyst P.H. Neeralakeri and Mr. Deepak Chinchore questioned the HDMC action and alleged that during the lockdown, violating the COVID-19 protocol, the municipal officials and the police had gathered in large number to carry out the drive.

They alleged that those who were supposed to protect law and order, were engaged in violation and the district administration should immediately file cases against them for violating the COVID-19 protocol.

Mr. Neeralakeri said that as per the High Court order, the municipal corporation should first rehabilitate them before clearing the structures.

Mr. Chinchore urged the authorities to take action on the issue in consultation with all the stakeholders after the lifting of the lockdown.

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