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Poll gag on noisy Dhanbad crossing

Philosopher Thomas Carlyle said: “Silence is more eloquent than words.”

But, when noise means business, one prefers it to the most serene of silences.

If you do not believe this, ask the news junkie or the betel shop owner who thrive on the daily din at Dhanbad’s Randhir Verma Chowk, a centre of political activities round the year, how they feel after the model code of conduct has silenced the intersection from March 5.

Except a voter awareness campaign led by RTI activist Ranjit Singh Parmar on March 20 with the prior permission of subdivisional officer Abhishek Srivastava, the roundabout has not hosted any political meet ever since Lok Sabha polls were announced and the model code of conduct came into effect.

Among the coal town residents who have been disappointed by the transformation of the intersection are owners of the nearby shops, who enjoy good business owing to the regular demonstrations and dharnas.

Rajkant Pathak, who has been running a betel shop in front of the pedestal at Randhir Verma Chowk since 1987, said that on an average two political programmes were organised everyday under the pedestal. “Our sale decreases by nearly 50 per cent whenever model code of conduct is in effect. Thank god, the sun hasn’t become ferocious till now and people are coming out of their homes. Otherwise, we would have no sale at all,” he said.

Senior journalist of a vernacular daily Ashok Verma said regular dharnas and demonstrations at Randhir Verma Chowk made it a centre from where news was generated on a daily basis. “We are so accustomed to the blaring loudspeakers at the intersection that the lack of activity is haunting us,” he said.

Medical representative Mithu Chakraborty echoed Verma. “We often stop at the Chowk to have tea before starting our daily visits to doctors and on our way back home. Nowadays, we feel something is amiss,” he added.

Not everyone, however, is disappointed with the Chowk’s new avatar.

Meena Kumari, a third year student of BSS Women’s College welcomed the rare silence at the intersection. “Everyday, while going to and returning from college, we had to endure the deafening noise from loudspeakers. This silence has come as a relief,” she added.

Notably, dharnas and demonstrations are organised at a platform on the right side of the Chowk, which connects Luby circular road with Hirapur and Police line area with Court More and is one of the busiest places of the district.


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