On Sunday, authorities said that the historic City Chowk in Jammu was renamed to ‘Bharat Mata Chowk’ following the passage of a resolution by the general house of the BJP-led Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC).
The name changing of an important commercial hub in old Jammu has received mixed reactions. While most were welcoming of the decision, they collectively urged the JMC to focus more on development and cleanliness rather than changing names.
While talking to PTI, Purnima Sharma senior BJP leader and Deputy Mayor of the JMC said, “I had moved a resolution in the general house some four months ago demanding renaming of the ‘City Chowk’ to ‘Bharat Mata Chowk on the popular demand of the public."
“This place is historic and a witness to major decisions and protests in the past. Every year people are hoisting the tricolour on Republic and Independence days in this chowk. There was a popular demand from the public to rename this chowk as Bharat Mata Chowk,” Sharma said.
As a tribute to the late former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. the starting point of the circular road near Panjtirthi in the city was named by the JMC as ‘Atal Chowk’.
A new board featuring the new name was seen erected by the JMC in the chowk. The city square is a prime location in Jammu as it connects four busy markets, including the famous Raghunath Temple, Super Market, Shalimar and Kanak Mandi.
“We welcome the move and understand that the respect for the motherland should be in one’s heart. The administration should focus on creation of more parking space in the market and attracting tourists to Jammu, which has lost its charm after the city was bypassed with the direct rail link to the famous Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine at Katra,” a local resident said.
V Gupta, who is the Joint Secretary of Kanak Mandi market association, however, was not too keen on the new name and said that this move should not have been sanctioned as this chowk is the oldest residential and business area of the city.
“They placed the board overnight without consulting the locals. This is the oldest residential and commercial area of the city and known by the name of City Chowk. It came as a big surprise for us,” Gupta said.