With the prospect of sealing from November 1 staring at its face, the Delhi government for the first time has taken a proactive stand to save the traders.
It would not only petition the court appointed Monitoring Committee but also ask the Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting on Friday to find a “face saving and realistic formula” before the renewed drive from next Wednesday.
To build a consensus amongst her ministerial colleagues, CM Sheila Dikshit called an informal meeting of her Cabinet on Thursday morning.
Though there was no formal agenda, only one topic came up for discussion – how to save the 40,000 odd traders who have filed the affidavits before the apex court to voluntarily close their establishments?
The state government has so far refrained from taking any official stand on the sealings and demolitions ever since it began last year.
With its political base slipping and civic elections due early next year, the government has drawn up a list of what to say before the Monitoring Committee and the GoM.
“Justice and compassion should go together,” the government would point out to the committee. The note of the government would be routed through the Urban Development Department.
A senior official said that the committee would also be told that there is an apprehension of a breakdown of law and order.
The government would also categorically state that it wants a halt on the sealing drive till the Centre notifies the Master Plan Delhi 2021. The state government would also press of notifying the MPD –2021 as the court had not banned its implementation.
“We cannot notify a road as commercial or of mixed land use but these can be done through the MPD,” said a note prepared by the Delhi government.
On the sidelines of a function of the Delhi Metro, Dikshit said: "We are trying all possible ways to provide relief to the people.”
She, however, admitted that finding a solution was tough. The CM said that the government was coordinating with the GoM, UDM and the MCD to sort out the issue.
For the first time, the government has also shown its keenness to become a party to the case in the court. A top official, on condition of anonymity said,
“Unauthorised constructions and shops in residential areas sprung up due to the mistakes of others – DDA and MCD and not Delhi government. The court would hear us as we never had jurisdiction on these two issues”.
Email Amitabh Shukla: ashukla @hindustantimes.com