Saturday afternoon saw high drama in Chandni Chowk area when a team of officials from the North Delhi Municipal Corporation reached the Dariba Kalan market to seal shops over non-payment of conversion and parking charges.
The traders and the local councillor argued with the municipal council officials and the sealing drive was stopped before any shop could be sealed.
According to traders, Chandni Chowk and its adjoining markets are in a special area zone where they do not require paying conversion and parking charges since registration of shops have not been done there. Special areas refer to three places — Delhi-Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk and Paharganj — that came up before Independence. These places enjoy certain protection and are awaiting a redevelopment plan.
According to Sanjay Bhargava, general secretary of Chandni Chowk Sarv Vypar Mandal, a previous high court order makes it clear that sealing is not permitted in the market.
“When the officials came, we informed them that it is illegal to seal the shops as court orders protect the establishments. Later, the councillor of the ward also joined in the protest and got the drive cancelled,” said Bhargava.
The action was initiated after the City Zone office of the municipal body started sending sealing notices to the shops, asking them to submit conversion and parking charges.
On Saturday, the civic body team reached the market along with police personnel to seal 10 shops at Dariba Kalan market, famous for its jewellery shops.
Leader of the House Mahender Nagpal said he will take up the matter since it is against the rules to seal premises in special areas.