Delhi’s prominent markets shut down to protest sealing drive | cities | Hindustan Times
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Delhi’s prominent markets shut down to protest sealing drive

Traders are sore at the month-long sealing drive by the municipal corporation on the direction of a Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee.

cities Updated: Jan 23, 2018 13:04 IST
Vibha Sharma
File photograph of shopkeepers staging a demonstration against the sealing drive in South Extension market in New Delhi  on January 19.
File photograph of shopkeepers staging a demonstration against the sealing drive in South Extension market in New Delhi on January 19.(HT PHOTO)

Prominent markets such as Connaught Place, Defence Colony, South Extension, Karol Bagh and Greater Kailash in Delhi shut down on Tuesday in response to a bandh called by traders affiliated to Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) to protest an ongoing sealing drive.

Shops at these markets are likely to remain closed the entire day. Some markets in central Delhi were to remain closed till the first half of the day because of the Republic Day dress rehearsal. At Khan Market, though, shops may open after 2 pm as the traders called for a partial strike.

Shopkeepers at some markets staged protests against the sealing drive that the Municipal Corporation launched on December 22, 2017 on the direction of Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee.

It is a weekly off in some markets such as Greater Kailash I and II, Kailash Colony and Hauz Khas but traders are still participating in the protest.

“We have asked the traders of south Delhi to gather in South Extension I market by 12:30 pm in large number. All the traders are united for the cause and criticise the unreasonable sealing drive carried in markets without serving any prior notices to traders,” said Vijay Kumar, president of South Extension I Market Association.

Praveen Khandelwal the national secretary-general of CAIT alleged that the basic fundamentals of Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 have been snatched away from the traders and sealing is being conducted in a dictatorial manner under the guise of Supreme Court order.

“Before taking any action for misuse of any property, the DMC Act requires Commissioner to lodge a complaint with the Municipal Magistrate in a time bound period, a show cause notice and right to make an Appeal to Appellate Tribunal,” said Khandelwal.

Traders of Greater Kailash I want the government to notify the increased Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from permissible 180 (80% coverage on ground, 60% on first and 40% on second) to 300 (100% coverage on all floors) and regularise the basements. “After that we are ready to pay the ‘use conversion charge’ at revised rates of Rs 22,274,” said Rajendra Sharda, chairman of GK I Market association.

At Khan Market, however, traders observed a partial bandh as the shops and restaurants will start operation from 2pm.

“We have shut our establishments till 2pm as a show of solidarity against the high handedness and sealing without application of mind,” Anshu Tandon, president of Khan Market Restaurants Association, said.

Vikram Badhwar, secretary of New Delhi Traders Association, said even Connaught Place, which is a commercial area, is under the SC-appointed monitoring committee’s scanner.

“They have written to the New Delhi Municipal Council regarding CP, too. Council’s officials have been on recces to check basements and roofs. How can they (monitoring committee) exploit the traders? They think they are above law! We protest this unjustified action on shops and restaurants across the city,” Badhwar said.