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No sealings over weekend: MCD

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 15:46 IST

Authorities will not seal any illegal commercial property in New Delhi over the weekend, it was announced on Saturday, after three days of crackdown that saw over 300 such places in residential areas being closed.

"We are not carrying out the sealing drive on Saturday and Sunday. People should have a good weekend without any fear of sealing," said a Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) official.

"So far we have sealed 353 commercial establishments in residential areas," he said.

The operation, which began on Wednesday amid high security, saw protests by traders petering out after some earlier violence.

Traffic flow on Delhi roads was smooth on Saturday and markets were all open after daylong closure by traders on Friday.

"The city is limping back to its usual business and the fear of violence among people is diminishing. Over the last few days traders held the city to ransom by their shutdowns and violence, and like me a lot of people were afraid to venture out," said Rajiv Kumar, whose car tyres were punctured by strike supporters near Mayur Vihar in east Delhi on November 1.

However, the police vowed to be on the alert. "We will keep a close watch on all sensitive areas," said a police official.

The 24-hour strike on Friday called by traders received a lukewarm response. The MCD sealed 116 commercial properties, including one run by former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev.

The sealing has been confined until now to south and central Delhi. Among the big names that were shut were Kangaroo Playschool and the Leela Jewellery showroom in upmarket Greater Kailash-I.

On Monday, the Supreme Court dismissed petitions filed by MCD and the central government and directed that the sealing be resumed immediately.

On May 20, the central government implemented the Delhi Laws Special Provision Act and put a year-long moratorium on all sealing and demolition activity in the capital. On Sep 7 and Sep 15, the government issued two notifications allowing commercial use of residential areas on nearly 2,200 roads.

However, an independent petition filed by a JS Mallik challenged the notification in the Supreme Court. The court did not agree with some clauses of the notification and asked the government to go ahead with the sealing.

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