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Industries in Delhi flouting norms will be shut

Industries operating illegally in residential areas would be shut and their water and power supply would be disconnected, a Delhi government monitoring committee overseeing the closure of such units told the Supreme Court on Thursday.

delhi Updated: Oct 12, 2018 07:40 IST
HT Correspondent
Industry,Delhi,Delhi government
According to the committee, 51,837 units operating from residential areas had applied for alternative plots in industrial zones under a relocation scheme. (HT/File Photo)

Industries operating illegally in residential areas would be shut and their water and power supply would be disconnected, a Delhi government monitoring committee overseeing the closure of such units told the Supreme Court on Thursday.

In a report submitted before a bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta, a monitoring committee headed by the Delhi chief secretary outlined its plan of action against industrial units that were supposed to shut operations in accordance with the top court’s May 2004 order.

According to the committee, 51,837 units operating from residential areas had applied for alternative plots in industrial zones under a relocation scheme. Of them, 27,985 were found eligible of which 6,025 surrendered as they could not pay up. So the total number of effective allotments was 21,960, while the rest had to shut down.

But now it turns out industries that had got alternative sites too did not stop operations. And the panel has decided to crack down on such units first. In the next 15 days, electric and power supply would be disconnected to industries that continue to operate in residential colonies despite having alternative plots.

Next, the municipal corporations will identify rejected applicants which, instead of shutting shop, continue to operate illegally in residential areas. A list of 51,837 applicants has been provided to the civic bodies and the Delhi Development Authority.

The mapping exercise is expected to be completed in two months. Once the non-permitted industries are identified, they will be sealed right away, the panel said in its report. The panel took the decision at a meeting called on September 13 after the court sought a progress report on the relocation of industries.

Constituted by the top court in 2004 after a series of orders were passed to stop non-conforming industries in residential colonies, the panel is headed by Delhi’s chief secretary and comprises heads of the three municipal bodies, DDA and police.

All three municipal corporations will ensure that illegal industrial units running in their respective areas are closed forthwith, the panel report stated.

After taking on record the report, the bench noted in its order: “Its unfortunate that 14 years have gone by and yet the authorities concerned have not been able to close down these illegal units. The same now would be done in 15 days. It must be ensured decisions are taken and complied with.”

The court asked for another progress report by November 26, the next date of hearing.

Notice before sealing

The Centre on Thursday opposed the monitoring committee’s advice to do away with the 48-hour notice given to properties where misuse is alleged or illegal use of premises is taking place, before they are sealed.

Terming it against the law, additional solicitor general AS Nadkarni said the statute provisioned for a 15-day notice to alleged violators.

But a bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta disagreed. “First of all you (authorities) should not even permit it. And, if you give 48 hours to the alleged violator, then he or she will have ample time to make adequate changes to show he conforms,” Justice Lokur said.

Justice Gupta added: “You can give some leeway such as no immediate sealing . If a team visits a restaurant where misuse is alleged, then the team need not seal it immediately. Make a video recording or note down the violations and seal the property the next day. This can be done so that citizens having food at the restaurant do not feel embarrassed or humiliated. But notice should not be more than 48 hours.”

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court in the matter, said the committee had taken back its proposition to have no notice period for unauthorised buildings. “The government has been told that this advice is limited to only those properties where misuse is found,” he said. Nadkarni was given time to file a formal response after he said notice time can be dispensed with if the violation is repeated. The court will hear the matter on October 23.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 00:04 IST