Remember Modi’s famous ‘Chai pe charcha’ before the 2014 elections when he made huge promises to the Indian electorate about how he would change their lives if elected P.M.?
Many of the promises have proved false and now the place where they were made also turns out to be ‘illegal’ and has been shut down by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
Citing “traffic and congestion issues”, the AMC has sealed around eight shops, including popular eatery Iskcon Ganthia where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a “Chai Pe Charcha” session during the run-up to the polls in 2014.
Modi had sat outside the shop on the busy S G Highway stretch in west Ahmedabad, and in between sips of tea from the now famous Namo tea stall, had interacted with people through video conferencing on February 13, 2014 for two hours.
This NaMo tea stall, which was so named after the Chai pe Charcha session, was dismantled by the civic body officials during the sealing drive in August 2016.
Giri Goswami, whose wife Amiben used to run Iskcon Ganthia for six years, said, “We have already incurred losses up to Rs 4 to 5 lakh… As our shop is running out of a rented premises… we have to pay a steep rent and staff salaries.”
The AMC has contended that despite several warnings, the entire complex of eight shops, mostly eateries, did not create enough space for parking, leading to congestion of S G Highway and several accidents.
The shopkeepers on the other hand allege that it was not their customers but members of Karnavati Club, one of the city’s costliest and most elite clubs located across the road, used to park their vehicles near the complex, leading to the congestion.
“The AMC officials came and dismantled NaMo tea stall, and other shops. Our security guards help manage traffic here, but wealthy and influential guests of Karnavati Club do not pay heed to them and park vehicles near our shops. We have submitted all the land records since 1988 to the AMC, but our shops are still sealed,” said Chetanbhai J Patel, who runs Arbuda Motors in the complex and co-owns the 5,700 sq meter land on which the complex stands.
Patel said this harsh action was inititated despite four shop owners giving an undertaking to the AMC’s estate department that a parking lot on the premise would be opened for their customers.
AMC’s deputy estate officer of New West Zone Chaitanya Shah said, “This area is accident prone and 70 per cent of the 40-foot road is usually blocked by parked vehicles. We had warned the shop owners several times to manage their parking… The shops are also illegal as their plans have not been approved and they don’t even have the basic BU (Building Use) permission. Their impact fee has also not been regularised. The shops have been sealed indefinitely for now.”
Well, why not? They have served their purpose and are of no use to Modi or anybody else in power now!