4 days have passed since 29 restaurants on Sidhra road have been shut due to their construction on State lands, according to Government. The owners of these restaurants complained about the closure inspite the valid documents.
“Administration’s sudden order of closing our restaurants was a shock, although DC Ma’am tweeted about presenting the original documents of the restaurants. We went to the office but the process is being evaded. I have electricity meter and water supply for my restaurant which requires documents. It’s been 1.5 months since my restaurant has started. Where were the officials when the construction was going on? Lakhs of rupees have been invested in the properties and nothing can repair the loss.” Angel Singh, a restaurant owner said
“The restaurants in cities are surrounded with pollution, traffic and have high rates. The public has shifted to Sidhra for dinners and parties because we provide them comfort, security and hospitality. Our rates are genuine and we have introduced new concepts. A place where no one walked after 6 in the evening is full of people for dinners. This is a conspiracy to ruin our business by city restaurant owners.” He added
The owners of Sidhra restaurants believe that they are being targeted. Giving example of Ex Chief Minister, “My restaurant is on Sidhra Road since 2006. 15 years and no one ever talked about State land. Suddenly all our shops have been closed. Our stock got ruined. How will we feed our family? Our kids? So many leaders of Jammu have illegal properties on State lands, why isn’t Government asking them? Why are we targeted? Just because we are not rich enough? I would request the Administration to question them first and then come to us.” Babbu Chaudhary, a restaurant owner said.
After the closure, the restaurant staff has been affected by the regular sales. They said it is a loss of their daily income and would affect their salaries.
“I handle the staff and food management of a restaurant. Staff has nothing to do with laws. It just needs it’s salaries. Around 300-400 people are employed here. Some belong to places like Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar, Jammu, etc. During lockdown, we all were in huge loss still our owners paid us salaries. Government didn’t do anything for the Hotel Industry. Now when we finally have a source of income, new issues have been created. Either the Administration should provide us with jobs and our salaries or find another way to feed our families.” said Prem, a management staff member