The MCD has cleared a list of roads in residential areas on which commercial activities will be permitted. On Monday, the municipal body put its stamp of approval on 1,979 roads and said more roads would be included in the list soon.
The move sets in motion the process of bringing relief to traders facing sealing action for operating in residential areas. The Urban Development Ministry had recently made changes to the Delhi Master Plan and asked the MCD to identify stretches that could be given the commercial-area status.
Several major residential stretches — like Lala Lajpat Rai Marg (from Nirula's to Defence Colony), New Daryaganj Road (from Subhash Marg to Ring Road), Ajmal Khan Road (from New Rohtak Road to Tank Road) and Shanker Road (Upper Ridge Road to Siddhartha roundabout) — have been declared commercial roads. Many blocks in Shastri Nagar have also been included.
MCD Standing Committee chairman J.K. Sharma said the list would expand in the next few days. “We have only taken up roads in colony categories E, F and G, and the Master Plan roads," said Sharma. The MCD will next concentrate on posh colonies. "Roads in colony categories A, B, C and D are yet to be taken up. We are hopeful of completing the process on these stretches by September 16," Sharma said.
On the directions of the Supreme Court, sealing squads were supposed to start work from September 16. If the redefining process is completed before that date, it will bring relief to about 90 per cent of traders in residential areas.
"For the past six months, there has been uncertainty about the fate of lakhs of traders operating in residential areas. We will be able to save nearly 90 per cent of them," MCD Leader of House Jitender Kochhar.
MCD Commissioner A.K. Nigam said the process could be completed quickly now as the Centre had given the municipal body the power to identify and declare roads as commercial/mixed land.
Former Urban Development Minister Jagmohan, opposed to regularisation of unauthorised shops and constructions, said the move to declare the roads commercial will damage the city's planning. "The Ring Road and Master Plan roads that are supposed to ensure smooth flow of traffic will get choked and properties of law-abiding citizens will be taken over to create parking lots," Jagmohan said.
As many as 682 stretches in residential areas have been declared fully commercial. Also getting the status were another 125 roads, which were earlier under mixed-land-use areas where shops are permitted on the ground floor only. Commercial-area status — that allows commercial activity on any floor — has been granted to those stretches that have already been commercialised more than 70 per cent.
0Also, mixed-land-use has been allowed on another 573 roads, as they have been commercialised more than 50 per cent. Another 599 stretches have been declared pedestrian shopping streets — a concept introduced under the amended Master Plan 2001 — in which shops will be allowed on the ground floor.
After the MCD Standing Committee cleared the names of the stretches, Mayor Farhad Suri granted his approval and the list was sent to the Delhi government. The government will soon publish the road stretches in the form of a gazette notification.