Much to the cheer of thousands of traders and residents in the Indian capital, the central government on Thursday approved an ordinance to stop sealing of illegal structures in Delhi, including thousands of unauthorised slums and hundreds of unauthorised colonies.
The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provision) Second Ordinance, 2007, received the approval of the cabinet and will provide status quo in respect of the sealing drive in several colonies.
According to the provisions in the ordinance, unauthorised developments like "slum clusters, hawkers and urban street vendors, unauthorised colonies, existing farm houses, involving construction beyond permissible building limits" will get a reprieve from the day of the ordinance's promulgation.
It would also give relief to "schools, dispensaries, religious institutions, cultural institutions, warehouses and go-downs used for agricultural produce in rural areas built on agricultural land", and more importantly "commercial establishments in unauthorised colonies".
Currently, as per a Supreme Court direction, "unauthorised developments" were to be shut down by the civic authorities.
Civic officials said, as soon as the ordinance is promulgated they would stop the sealing drive.
"We have not received any direction so far but for sure the sealing will come to an end after the declaration of the ordinance," said an official of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
Applauding the government action, trade leaders said that a task force must be set up to implement the Delhi Master Plan 2021.
"We hail the cabinet approval of the ordinance on sealing, but at the same time we appeal that the government should initiate regularisation process of unauthorised colonies. We demand a special task force for the proper implementation of the Delhi Master Plan 2021," trade leader Praveen Khandelwal told IANS.