The MCD’s decision to approach the Supreme Court to allow small shops in DDA flats has irked shopkeepers operating from authorised DDA markets in these colonies.
An association of DDA Market Traders in Vikaspuri has approached the Supreme Court-constituted Monitoring Committee against giving any relief to traders in DDA flats.
“All DDA colonies are planned settlements in which the Authority has earmarked five to eight per cent space for commercial use and constructed shops. While we shopkeepers had purchased these authorised shops through auction at commercial rate of Rs 3,500 – Rs 8,000 per square feet, the residential flats were sold at the rate of Rs 800 - Rs 2,000 square feet,” association president Kamal Malhotra has written to the Monitoring Committee.
The association members said that if the court allows commercial use of DDA flats, it would sound the death knell of shopkeepers having establishments in authorised DDA markets that are already on the verge of closure.
“Why would anyone want to buy an authorised shop when he has the option of running business from his house. Even the residents prefer buying goods from the shop below their house – no one wants to walk till the market. This is the main reason behind most DDA markets having a low occupancy rates as traders have the easy option of opening shops at homes,” said Malhotra.
The association members said that traders operating from homes offer an unfair competition. “Since the basic capital investment involved in opening a shop at residential flat is much lesser than buying a shop in an authorised market area, the ‘home traders’ can afford to offer their goods at a lower price and still recover the investment at an early state,” said another shopkeeper.
MCD Commissioner AK Nigam in the Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday had said the Supreme Court in its order had allowed small shops (up to 20 sq.m. in size) dealing in the permissible categories of trade.
The Monitoring Committee, however, had opined that no commercial activity should be allowed in DDA flats and Group Housing Societies. Nigam had said that since the court order had not made any distinction between small shops in plotted colonies or in DDA flats, they would seek a clarification from the court in this regard.