To create more walking space for the shoppers visiting Khan Market, the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has asked the shopkeepers to recreate the verandah space as it existed earlier. Most of the shops in Khan Market will have to demolish the extensions they have carried out and create space for the verandah.
Presently, most shops on the ground floor have carried out extensions and covered the verandah, thus reducing the overall walking space.
The issue was discussed at length in a meeting on Saturday. According to EPCA, all the shops in Khan Market had an area measuring almost five feet earmarked as verandah which, over the years, has been covered by the shopkeepers to extend their shop area further.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has now been directed by EPCA to measure all the shops and earmark the space meant as verandah.
"The verandah exists as a circulating area and can't be turned into a shop. We have told the NDMC to measure all shops and ensure that shopkeepers restore the verandah. We hope the exercise will start soon," said Bhure Lal, chairman of EPCA.
The NDMC has been asked to consult the original layout plan of the market wherein space for the verandah has been earmarked.
However, traders say the verandah space is not part of the layout in their lease agreement. "We have asked them to show us the layout plan. As far as we know the verandah space is not part of the lease agreement. Though in 1984 the front portion of the shop was declared as a public street after a resolution was passed. The same resolution was withdrawn in the 1990s and the NDMC agreed that declaring it as a public street was wrong. But we will still demolish it if they are able to prove that the verandah is part of the layout plan," said Sanjeev Mehra, president, Khan Market Traders' Association.
There are two types of shops in Khan Market, one measuring 534 square feet, while others are 464 feet in area. Shopkeepers claim that only some traders have carried out illegal extensions.
Sources say, the civic agency assured the EPCA in the meeting that it will start the process of measuring the shops and take the necessary action.