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To protest sealing, Green Park, Hauz Khas, GK-1, South Ex markets to remain shut

Prominent south Delhi markets will remain shut on Friday to protest against the ongoing sealing drive by the Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee in city

delhi Updated: Jan 18, 2018 23:31 IST
Vibha Sharma
Vibha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Green Park,Sealing drive,Delhi news
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation sealed 85 shops and establishments in New Rajinder Nagar, Paharganj and Malka Ganj.(HT Photo)

Prominent south Delhi markets will remain shut on Friday to protest against the ongoing sealing drive by the Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee in city.

Traders, under the banner of the Federation of Local Shopping Complexes and markets, will shut their shops in Greater Kailash-I and II, South Extension Part-1 and 2, Kailash Colony, Defence Colony, Green Park, Hauz Khas and Meharchand Market.

Traders said it would be a silent protest with no demonstration. They will also meet the press at 12 noon.

Vijay Kumar, a member of South Extension Part I Traders’ association, said that the protest will mainly focus on three points.

“First, to stop the sealing drive till June 30 (the date notified by the centre for taking the benefit of reduced use conversion charge at Rs 22, 274), second, to increase the floor area ratio (FAR) up to 300 and third, to deseal the basements targeted recently despite payment for the additional FAR (at Rs 4,375 per square metre) and conversion charges (at Rs 6,138 per square metre),” he said.

The municipal corporation had approved their building plan in 2000 after regularising the constructions done till 1998, the traders claimed.

“The civic agency issued the notification to allow the commercial activities in basements after taking the FAR and conversion charges. In fact, in their plan the basement was shown as ‘commercial’ establishment. So why these are being sealed now and what happened to the money paid by the traders,” said Jagdish Gupta, general secretary of Defence Colony Market Traders Association.

The shop owners want the municipal corporations and the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee to explain the rules to the shopkeepers before sealing their shops. “They should understand that sealing would lead to loss of thousands of jobs. They should at least wait for the Delhi Development Authority to notify the increase FAR,” said Vishal Ohri, of GK-II market association.

Sealing goes on

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation sealed 85 shops and establishments in three markets on Thursday for misuse of residential properties as commercial ones, illegal construction and non-payment of ‘use conversion charge’.

Shops in New Rajinder Nagar, Paharganj and Malka Ganj areas were targeted. Two offices were also sealed in Prashant Vihar.

“All these markets are local shopping complexes and no commercial activities are allowed in their basements. Also, the traders can’t use more than 180 FAR and have to pay the ‘use conversion charge’ for using the first and second floor for commercial purpose,” said a monitoring committee member.

The traders, however, blamed the civic authority for sealing their shops despite them having all relevant documents.

“The market was established by land and development Office and traders had paid money to get them freehold. Besides, the shopkeepers continued to pay the commercial charges regularly,” said Yajnapati Upadhyay, president of Congress’s Rajinder Nagar block.

AAP alleges scam

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday accused the BJP-ruled municipal corporations of a scam running into thousands of crores in the name of conversion charges collected over the past several years.

Terming the conversion charge “Gundagardi Tax”, senior AAP leader Dilip Pandey alleged that the BJP was running a business of “illegal extortion” on the pretext of sealing drive.

“Rs 966 crore was collected in the name of conversion charges and Rs 61 crore for parking charges by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in the past few years. This money was spent in various other heads,” Pandey said.

He said that according to Master Plan-2021, this money was supposed to be deposited in an escrow account and used for developing parking sites and other development.

Kamaljeet Sehrawat, mayor, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, denied the allegations as “misleading, false and unverified”.

“First of all, the SDMC collected Rs 1,195 crore as conversion charges in the past five years. Of this, Rs 925 crore has been deposited in the escrow account and rest Rs 270 crore was being used for developing multilevel car parking lots at Munirka, Hauz Khas, Bhogal, New Friends Colony and other areas. We are also in the process of developing 13 fully automated underground parking lots,” said Sehrawat.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 22:05 IST