One of capital’s biggest ‘grey’ markets of electronics and garments, Karol Bagh’s Gaffar Market is about to see a major sealing drive against many of its shops early next month.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is almost done compiling the names of shops that have been flouting building norms and starting next week, will send out notices to them.
According to a senior MCD official, only 176 shops out of the hundreds in the market, are authorised. Over the years, the owners of the buildings have been adding floors to the building without following guidelines.
The MCD has stepped into action following a notice by the Supreme Court monitoring committee for the blatant “encroachments on public land and misuse of property”.
The busy electronic hyper-store that boasts of easy availability of gadgets not yet released in India, is, according to the monitoring committee, liable to be punished not just for its illegal expansion but for the health hazard posed by its haphazard growth.
“Even a small fire will trigger a major inferno,” said the sealing order issued to the MCD recently. According to sources, the monitoring committee was extremely annoyed at seeing potential safety hazards such as power cables hanging loose from shop rooftops, absence of fire safety equipment and lack of proper fire exits.
However the major dispute with the shops is basically the construction of first, second and in some cases third floors in shops illegally. The shops in Gaffar Market were given permission only for ground floors but the rest of the construction does not have the approval of any agency.
According to the original plan, there were four roads around Gaffar Market with predefined measurements.
“Two roads of width 11.5 metre and two of 5.5 metre were constructed around the market complex, but after encroachment by shop owners, the roads were visibly reduced to less than five metre,” said a senior MCD official. Besides the roads, the monitoring committee has also raised objections against the encroachments on the staircase inside the market.