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Sealing, demolition back from June 1

From June 1, traders in Delhi will face a tough time with the return of sealing and demolition.

delhi Updated: May 27, 2010 23:11 IST
Neelam Pandey

From June 1, traders in Delhi will face a tough time with the return of sealing and demolition.

The Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee on sealing of unauthorised commercial establishments has directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to start sealing local shopping centres for non-payment of conversion charges.

Most such shopping centres are located in areas such as South Extension part I and II, Defence Colony, Greater Kailash I and II, Lajpat Nagar, Rohini, Saket. The committee has also asked the MCD to demolish all illegal construction carried out by the owners at these shopping centres.

According to the civic body, many shopkeepers have constructed additional floors illegally. These will be demolished.

The sealing and demolition drive is expected to begin from South and Central zone of the MCD. In each area there are more than 100 such shops, which will be affected. In South Delhi alone nearly 700 shops will be targeted.

“The monitoring committee has issued directions to start sealing the shopping centres as they have not paid conversion charges. Also, many shops/centres have carried out illegal construction by way of constructing additional floors. These floors can’t be used for commercial activities and have to be demolished,” said a senior MCD official. A meeting was held on Wednesday to chalk out the plan to start the sealing drive.

Ironically, the shop owners are not even aware that they have to pay conversion charges, as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is yet to notify the amount that the shop owners need to pay.

“The monitoring committee is asking us to collect the charges from these shopping centres. We don’t even know how much to charge as the DDA is yet to issue a notification on the same. We have referred the matter to the DDA. But as per the MC’s directions, we will start taking action from June,” added the official.

The monitoring committee has said that the last date to pay the conversion charges is over and has asked the MCD to start taking action.

Prior to the formulation of the Master Plan of Delhi 2021 (MPD-2021), only the ground floors in areas such as South Extension, Greater Kailash I, Defence Colony could be used for commercial activities. However, after the MPD-2021 the upper floors could also be used for commercial activities as they are being used presently after payment of conversion charges.

“If the government has not even defined the limits as to how many floors can be constructed how can they term some floors as illegal? These local shopping centres were residential in nature earlier; it is only after the MPD 2021 that they were given a commercial status. If they tell us how much to pay we will deposit the conversion charges. These centres fulfil the needs of the people and sealing them will be a major setback,” said Hemant Gupta, a Greater Kailash-I trader.

Facing the Music

Who will be targeted: Shopkeepers who haven’t dep-osited conversion charges after the MPD-2021 allowed them to carry out commercial activities on ground and upper floors (the entire building can be used for commercial activity).

Areas to be affected: Local shopping centres across the city will be affected including South Extension-I and II, Defence Colony, Lajpat Nagar, GK-I and II, Green Park, Rohini, Shahdara south and north among others

According to the MCD, these local shopping centres can only use the ground and upper two floors for commercial activity, most of them have constructed additional floors illegally which will be demolished now