Sealings squads faced feeble protests on Tuesday as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi resumed the Supreme Court-directed drive to shut down illegal commercial establishments on Wednesday. The two areas targeted were Kilokri on Ring Road and Safdarjang Enclave, Africa Avenue.
Kilokri, Ring Road
The drive started in the morning. The popular CTC Plaza was the first to be sealed. Next on the list were the Thapar Business Centre, the Bata and the Yamaha showrooms. The employees of the Bata showroom sat on a dharna but were dispersed by police later.
The other establishments that were sealed include a guesthouse and one of south Delhi's oldest fitness centres, Pulse-Impulse. Its owners, however, claimed that the centre was closed two months ago. Power lines to the sealed premises were also snapped.
Traders in Kilokri alleged that they were not given enough time to remove goods from their shops. "We knew that sealing was going to take place but had no idea it will start from our shop. We were not given time to remove the goods and they have sealed the shops," said MS Gandhi, President of Kilokri Traders Welfare Association.
The seal on one of the properties was, however, broken after the drive was wrapped up in the afternoon. The establishment in question was one of the four properties owned by the Sanghi family along the Ring Road. "For the last 40 years, this property has been used for residential purposes," said Ram Kishan Sanghi, the owner. MCD officials re-sealed the property later. "Breaking of seal would amount to perjury and contempt of court and would invite penal action under the section 188 of IPC. The properties would also be re-sealed," said MCD spokesman Deep Mathur.
The MCD sealed 17 units on the Africa Avenue. One of the important ones was the office of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Senior MCD officials said an affidavit had been filed by the TRAI promising that it would stop misuse of the property.
"The law has to take its own course but we should have been given enough time to shift. We are not running any commercial activity from here, TRAI is a statutory body doing a public job," said TRAI's lawyer Meet Malhotra.
He said TRAI would also apprise the Supreme Court about the situation. Senior officials said they have already identified a new building and work was on to shift there.
MCD also sealed a few empty premises in the area despite objections from the owners. "We are sealing all premises for which affidavits were submitted. If they have stopped the misuse, they would have to file a fresh affidavit," said a senior MCD official.