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10 more illegal buildings sealed in Delhi

Two people have been detained for obstructing the sealing drive which takes place amid protests.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 15:54 IST

Ten more illegal commercial establishments in residential areas were sealed on Thursday in New Delhi amid some protests, and police said they had detained two men for obstructing the drive.

As Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit prepared to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss an issue that has sparked widespread anger, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) continued with its sweeping sealing drive, this time in Rajouri Garden and other areas in west Delhi.

Amid slogans raised against the government, there was some resistance from the traders. The police detained at least two men on charges of obstructing the flow of work.

"We have begun our drive in west Delhi and a number of polluting units including a chemical factory in Rajouri Garden have been sealed," a MCD official said.

The official said 10 establishments, including some shops, had been targeted until Thursday afternoon.

Since November 8, nearly 800 commercials units, including guest houses, restaurants, play schools and even some government offices, have been forced to shut for violating Delhi's Master Plan for urban development that segregates residential and commercial areas.

Dikshit and some Congress legislators are meeting Manmohan Singh on Thursday to discuss ways to give reprieve to the thousands of traders who suddenly find themselves out of business after operating illegally in residential areas for years.

Traders continued their relay hunger strike near Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, for the second day.

"Our strike will continue till November 22, the day parliament's winter session begins. Traders from south Delhi are taking part today," said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders, which is leading the protest campaign.

He said a delegation of traders led by him was to meet the chief minister before "she meets the prime minister".

"What we are going to demand is the implementation of Master Plan 2021. Even if the Supreme Court gives time till January 31, 2007, it will not benefit the traders much. In the absence of a proper Master Plan, the sealing operation may resume from February again," Khandelwal said.

"We need a proper law that will regularise all shops operating before December 31, 2005. We will impress upon Dikshit to convey our request to the prime minister," he added.

On Wednesday, 25,000 traders got a temporary reprieve from the apex court. In its directive, the court asked these traders to file fresh affidavits by November 19 promising that they will not misuse their space in residential areas.

Till that time, the drive will target those establishments which have not filed such affidavits and are not covered under the two notifications of the central government dated September 7 and 15.

These notifications allow liberal use of residential areas for commercial purposes in nearly 2,200 roads across the capital.