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CHANDIGARH: The City Beautiful, especially the main shopping centre in Sector 17, bore a deserted look on Sundays till a few years ago as most of the shops remained close. Then in 2004, the Chandigarh Administration decided to allow shops to open on Sundays for the convenience of local residents and tourists from the neighbouring Haryana, Himachal and Punjab and to restore the ambience and life around the Sector 17 Plaza where locals and tourists thronged on weekends.
This move was criticised by some traders then who asserted that it would prove to be a ‘damp squib'. The main reason for the opposition was, however, that it would rob them of their weekly off on Sundays, and they would have to adjust their workers' weekly offs.
However, the residents and tourists felt otherwise. Most of the traders too fell in line. Vanita Talwar of Sector 8 remarks: “We are enjoying the best of the world. We can go to Sector 17 and love to watch the sea of humanity enjoying themselves there. We can visit a shopping mall or even go to the neighbouring Panchkula where the shops are open on Sundays.”
However, the reported decision of the Chandigarh Administration to bow down to the demands of a few vested interests and not renew the permission to open shops on Sunday has been criticised by many including some traders who had by now adjusted to opening their establishments on Sundays as it meant more more sale. The previous permission expired on May 31.
The residents are peeved over the dilly-dallying attitude of the Chandigarh Administration. They say that there was no need for any controversy at all and the permission should have been automatically renewed in the interests of all.
Now the ball is in the court of Punjab Governor and UT Chandigarh Administrator Shivraj Patil. Interestingly, the senior officers of the Administration are now having second thoughts given the reaction of the residents and they have indicated that Sunday shopping spree might continue.
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