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Delhi TV news channel, IAS academy sealed

india Updated: Sep 16, 2006 23:22 IST
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Delhi's civic authorities on Saturday, sealed the office of a TV news channel and a top coaching institute along with over 200 commercial establishments operating in upscale residential colonies.

The office of news channel S1, which mainly focuses on the capital and its satellite towns, was sealed in Siri Fort area of south Delhi.

"The channel was operating from a plush residential colony and we were forced to seal it," said a Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) official adding that its water and electricity connections were disconnected immediately.

However, Vijay Dikshit, the chairman of the channel, said the civic authorities did not furnish them any notice before taking the action. "Its pure harassment," he said.

Chanakya, a training academy for students preparing for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) entrance examinations, was also sealed in Vasant Vihar area of southwest Delhi.

After a fortnight of reprieve, the MCD on Saturday, resumed the sealing drive against commercial units operating from residential colonies, following a Supreme Court directive.

The drive began a little late than its usual scheduled time of 10 am in colonies like Greater Kailash, Siri Fort and Preet Vihar. MCD squads were accompanied by officials of the Delhi Jal Board and Delhi Transco to disconnect water and electricity to them.

In Greater Kailash, traders closed down their shops and came to the road shouting slogans against the MCD and their squads.

Apart from hazardous units, the statewide drive would seal banquet halls and commercial establishments in upmarket colonies. Over 40,000 trading units that submitted affidavits in the Supreme Court earlier saying they would shift their shops on their own, would also be sealed.

"As per the court directive, we have started the sealing drive in the A and B category colonies. Looking at the sensitivity of the matter, the deputy commissioners of all 12 zones have taken the help of police as well," said an MCD official.

Earlier, in a major reprieve for traders Friday, authorities allowed businesses to come up in residential premises on nearly 2,200 roads.

However, the three-member monitoring committee set up by the apex court to supervise the drive expressed its dissatisfaction over the notification. K.J. Rao, a former adviser to the election commission, heads the committee.

The committee members and top MCD officials were holding a meeting to end the confusion over the notification. Since Sep 1, civic authorities have sealed over 1,600 commercial units in middle-class localities.

Delhi government officials said the sealing drive would not take place on the notified roads. The notification came a day after the central government empowered the Delhi government to identify the roads for the business purpose.

"We issued the notification after taking the consent of the Lt. Governor and hope it will bring a major relief to the traders in the city," Delhi Urban Development and Planning Minister AK Walia said on Friday night.

As per the notification, nearly 2,200 roads in the not-so-affluent areas categorised as C, D, E, F and G would not face the MCD axe.

While the MCD had cleared nearly 2,000 roads September 11, 204 more roads were added on Thursday. The state government thus far was only a recommending authority but after getting power from the central government it can notify roads cleared under an amendment in the 2001 Delhi Master Plan.

While 734 roads have been declared as fully commercial, 685 are under the mixed land use category - where business would be allowed from a residential locality - and the rest under pedestrian shopping streets category.

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