Defence Colony, CP among markets to remain closed today to protest sealing drive
Traders in Khan Market, GK 1 and 2, South Extension, Defence Colony, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Kamla Nagar, Laxmi Nagar and Krishna Nagar say they will not open their shops.delhi Updated: Jan 23, 2018 08:06 IST
Markets across the city are likely to remain closed on Tuesday in keeping with the call for a bandh made by Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) to protest against the ongoing sealing drive. CAIT said about 2,000 market associations and seven lakh shopkeepers will participate in the one-day strike.
Traders in popular markets, such as Khan Market, GK 1 and 2, South Extension, Defence Colony, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Kamla Nagar, Laxmi Nagar and Krishna Nagar, said they will not open their shops and participate in protests organised at six venues in the city.
Praveen Khandelwal, the national secretary-general of CAIT said, “More than seven lakh commercial establishments belonging to about 2,000 trader associations in city are likely to observe the bandh on Tuesday. Whether wholesale or retail markets, no commercial activity will take place in the city tomorrow.”
Traders have planned a mass protest at six places against the sealing drive being carried out by the municipal corporations on the direction of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. After the protest, CAIT will give a presentation to the Union ministers and lieutenant-governor probably on Wednesday.
“We have fixed six places in Delhi where protesting traders will also stage a dharna from 12 to 2 pm. The main venue will be Hauz Qazi, near Chawri Bazar Metro station. Besides, traders are requested to support the dharna in large numbers at Kamla Nagar and Model Town in north Delhi, Rajouri Garden in west Delhi, South Extension in south Delhi and Krishna Nagar in east Delhi,” said Khandelwal.
The sealing drive started in the city on December 22 with South Delhi Municipal Corporation closing down the upper floors of Defence Colony shops and restaurants. The owners of these establishments allegedly did not pay the ‘use conversion charges’, which are mandatory for commercial properties that run from residential sites after changing the land use.
Since then, sealing has taken place in over 20 markets, including Khan Market where illegal construction was locked down and parts of markets in Mehar Chand Market, Sundar Nagar, Hauz Khas, Rajendra Nagar, Chhatarpur and Vasant Kunj.
“The shops at local shopping centres (LSCs) were declared commercial in 1998 and there was no mention of the ‘use conversion charge’ at that time. Now the municipal corporation is demanding these charges, forcefully, which is unreasonable. Sealing is conducted without giving any notice and the entire sealing proceedings are being run in a dictatorial manner keeping aside the MCD Act, 1957,” said Vijay Kumar, president, South Extension I market association.
At Gaffar Market, which is a part of the ‘special area’ as per Master Plan 2021, no sealing can take place. Yet, traders there will also organise a protest to create awareness. Murli Mani, president of Gaffar Market said that a gathering will be organised to address traders at Arya Samaj Road. “Though the Gaffar Market, Rani Jhasi Market and Deshbandhu Gupta market are LSCs where no sealing and demolition can be carried out unless the civic agencies redevelop these places, we will still meet the monitoring committee tomorrow to clarify our status,” said Mani.
The traders want the state and Union government to bring suitable law or an amnesty scheme approving the constructions done till December 31, 2017, notify 351 roads under commercial or mix land use and increase in floor area ratio to protect additional construction.
The Delhi BJP has extended support to the bandh. “We understand the problems of traders and support the bandh call,” said BJP president Manoj Tiwari.