Deadline for ‘use conversion charge’ over, sealing drive may resume in Delhi
The sealing drive started on December 22 from the Defence Colony market in south Delhi.delhi Updated: Jan 15, 2018 22:23 IST
With the deadline for depositing ‘use conversion charge’ by the traders in local markets getting over on Monday, the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee is likely to resume the sealing drive from Tuesday.
“The deadline is over and we will resume the sealing action soon,” said one of the members of the expert committee. However, he refused to share the details of markets going to be targed on Tuesday.
The sealing drive started on December 22 from the Defence Colony market in south Delhi. The civic agency had sealed 51 units here for using residential spaces for commercial use without paying the ‘use conversion charge’. The action was taken on the direction of the monitoring committee.
However, two weeks back, the Delhi Development Authority encouraged shopkeepers to pay up by reducing the charges from Rs 89,090 per square metre to Rs 22,274 per square metre for 80 local markets falling in categories A-D categories (as per circle rates notified by the Delhi government).
“But even after reducing the rates, many traders didn’t turn up to pay the pending charges,” said a municipal corporation official didn’t wished to be named.
The traders at Defence Colony market have refused to pay the charges saying that their market has no residential component. “We have taken the matter in Supreme Court, claiming that our market was commercial from the beginning and thus traders will not pay any amount to the civic authority. We have no clue about the desealing of our shops so far,” said Jagdish Gupta, member of Defence Colony Market Association.
The traders said that the recovery could have been larger if the confusion regarding the deposit deadline hadn’t been there. Rajender Sharda, chairman of Greater Kailash I market association, said many traders are ready to deposit ‘use conversion charges’ at the new rate but the confusion still prevails on many points.
“For example, the ministry of housing and urban affairs has given a window of June 30 for depositing the charges but as per the committee, it is till January 15. Whom should we trust?. Also, the committee is asking shopkeepers to submit an affidavit certifying that they will demolish their illegal portions (above 180 floor area ratio) till February 28, which is unjustified, “said Sharda.
A member of monitoring committee clarified that the deadline of June 30 given by the urban development ministry is only for the reduced rates (R 22,274). “These rates can be increased after June 30 by the DDA,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SDMC claimed to have collected R 25.60 crores in conversion, one-time parking and basement levy charges in the last three weeks.
“Our total collection in three weeks has gone up to R 25.6 crores, which is much higher than the average collection made between December 1 and 22, (before the sealing started), which was R 6 crores. Of the total amount received so far, the maximum collection was from South zone R 8.78 crore and the central zone R 8.20 crore,” said the official.
To save people from sealing and demolition drive in unauthorised colonies, the North Corporation’s standing committee has approved amnesty scheme to regularise all illegal constructions done over properties measuring 50-250 square metres till December 31, 2017, on Monday. The proposal, which will have to be ratified by the House of elected councillors, if implemented, will benefit thousands of people.