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Delhi sealing: DDA clears proposals to pacify traders even as markets remain shut

The Delhi Development Authority increased floor area ratio for local shopping complexes, reduced coversion charge penalties and regularised agricultural godowns amid the ongoing protests.

delhi Updated: Feb 02, 2018 22:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi sealing,DDA,Delhi markets
Traders hold protest near Town Hall Chandni Chowk on Friday. (Photo: Sourced)

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) approved on Friday proposals to provide uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residential complexes, reduce penalties and regularise agricultural warehouses by amending the Master Plan 2021.

The move is aimed at providing relief to traders hit by a sealing drive on commercial establishments across the national capital since December 15 last year.

The permitted FAR in local shopping complexes ranges from 150 to 180, while the amended figure would be between 300 and 350 depending on the plot size, said an official who didn’t want to be named.

The Centre had suggested the changes, which were approved at a meeting on Friday chaired by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, who is also the DDA chairman.

The DDA has sought public views on the amendments in the next three working days, following which it will have another meeting to finalise the changes.

“It has been proposed to provide uniform FAR in shop-cum-residence complexes on a par with residential plots as given on mixed use street which will depend on size of plot and subject to availability of parking,” said a statement issued by the DDA after the meeting.

Officials of the city’s three municipal corporations are supervising a sealing drive that started in January in accordance with instructions from a Supreme Court-appointed panel. Shops and restaurants that have not paid conversion charges — the premium for converting residential premises into commercial property — or have flouted permitted FAR norms were being sealed.

Apart from the DDA and Delhi government officials, legislators of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were present at the meeting.

The stakeholders approved the proposal to reduce the penalty for operating commercial establishments in residential areas. Currently, the penalty imposed on such properties is ten times the annual conversion charge for allowing mixed use in residential areas.

The new fine would, however, be just two times the annual conversion charge. Regularising the agricultural godowns on 12-metre wide roads was also approved.

“All the three proposals were passed at the meeting. Final decision will be taken after a three-day public hearing,” said Vijendra Gupta, member DDA and BJP MLA.

The Union housing and urban affairs ministry had on Wednesday reduced the period for public scrutiny of changes in the master plan to three days from 45.

The sealing drive had assumed political significance with the AAP accusing the BJP-ruled municipal corporations of harassing traders. The BJP, in turn, alleged that the AAP has failed to find a solution.

The DDA’s move comes at a time the Capital is staring at bypolls after MLAs for 20 constituencies were disqualified on office-of-profit charges. The case is pending in the Delhi high court.

Officials said the reduced time for scrutiny is intended to amend the laws urgently.

“However, the premises which have been sealed so far will not be de-sealed until the Supreme Court steps in,” the official said.

The AAP said lieutenant governor Baijal approved the proposals after pressure from the party.

“All demands of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal have been accepted,” said Somnath Bharti, an AAP lawmaker and DDA member.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 12:51 IST