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Protest against move to declare Car Street a business-free area

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PLEA: Deputy Commissioner in-charge R. Shantharaj (left) receiving a memorandum from a shop-owner on Car Street in Udupi on Saturday.
PLEA: Deputy Commissioner in-charge R. Shantharaj (left) receiving a memorandum from a shop-owner on Car Street in Udupi on Saturday.

Staff Correspondent

The decision smacks of high-handedness: Nalku Veethi Nivasigala Vedike

What memorandum says Proposal to install gates undemocratic Car Street is an important commercial centre in the State

Udupi: Shopkeepers and residents of Car Street, who have formed the "Nalku Veethi Nivasigala Vedike," took out a march here on Saturday against the decision to declare the street as a vehicle-free and business-free area.

It began from Car Street and culminated at the Deputy Commissioner's Office. In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner in-charge R. Shantharaj, the vedike members said the district administration's decision smacked of high-handedness. They criticised the decision to install four 12-foot high gates.

Public place

"Car Street is a public place where four roads meet. It does not belong to the Sri Krishna Temple or the Ashta Maths. It is a public place and the people are its owners.

According to Government documents, the road passing through the street is a State Highway connecting the pilgrim centres of Kollur and Subrahmanya," they said.

In the last seven decades, Car Street had developed as a commercial centre of not only Udupi district, but also the State.

Besides Sri Krishna Temple, Sri Ananteshwara Temple, Sri Chandramouleshwara Temple, the Sri Raghavendra Math, the Ashta Maths, marriage halls, guesthouses, bank branches, a post-office, a dispensary and commercial complexes are situated in the street.

The district administration and the district police had taken an undemocratic measure by suggesting the closure of the street by installing gates, the memorandum alleged.

The people of the city had protested the installation of gates in 1995, it said. Car Street residents had objected to putting up the gates and submitted a petition March 24, the memorandum added.

Those who have signed the memorandum include Udupi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Udupi District Hotel Owners Association, Udupi Jewellers Association and Udupi Autorickshaw Drivers and Owners Association.

CPI(M) criticises move

The Udupi unit of Communist Party of India (Marxist) has opposed the district administration's move to make Car Street here a vehicle-free, business-free zone.

In a release here on Saturday, party secretary P. Vishwanath Rai said the local people and tourists made their purchases in the area. Some of the shops had been existing for over a century.

`Impractical'

The proposal to make it a vehicle-free and business-free zone for security reasons was impractical, he said.

Mr. Rai said it was an "anti-people" move.

He urged the district administration authorities to withdraw the proposal.

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