Civic authorities in the capital will on Friday start resealing about 45,000 commercial units in residential areas following a Supreme Court directive even as traders resolved to continue their agitation to safeguard livelihoods of tens of thousands.
"The sealing operation will begin simultaneously in all the 12 zones and respective deputy commissioners will carry out the operation in collaboration with an integrated command force," said Deep Mathur, chief of the information cell of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
"Every zone would deploy a mobile inspection team to verify complaints and if necessary would recommend action to deputy commissioners. We have set up a 24-hour complaint cell (telephone number 1266) at the MCD headquarters to receive such complaints," Mathur told IANS.
The teams, which will take help from Delhi Police if necessary, will start its work from 10 am and will continue till 5 pm, authorities said.
In May, the central government had passed the Delhi Laws (Special Provision) Act that had put moratorium on the court-mandated demolition of illegal structures and sealing of commercial complexes in residential areas in the capital for a year.
However, the Supreme Court, hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) against that order on Aug 10, reprimanded the government for its legislation.
"Though prima facie we hold that the Delhi Laws (Special Provision) Act, 2006, is an invalid statute, we are not issuing a complete stay of the operation of this act," the court had noted and ordered resealing of those commercial units that were de-sealed by civic authorities.
Meanwhile, traders in the capital said they will oppose the drive and intensify their agitation in the coming days.
"The order of sealing of shops in residential areas has created a situation akin to disaster. Since it is a case of livelihood for lakhs of people, we will continue our fight," said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
"We are already in touch with political leaders and authorities in the union urban development ministry," he added.
On Wednesday, MCD had submitted an action plan report to Delhi High Court that informed about the formation of a taskforce for each of the 12 zones to ensure there was no delay in carrying out demolitions. To meet the staff shortage, the civic body would recruit junior engineers on contract basis.