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Markets deserted as Delhi traders observe day-long bandh against sealing

Most major markets including Connaught Place, Chawri Bazaar, South Extension, Sarojini Nagar, Kamla Nagar, Karol Bagh, Greater Kailash and Hauz Khas, were shut on Tuesday.

delhi Updated: Mar 13, 2018 23:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi sealing,sealing drive,traders protest
People play cricket at the deserted Bara Bazar automobile wholesale market after shops were shut to protest against sealing drive on Tuesday.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The day-long bandh called by traders on Tuesday to protest against the ongoing sealing drive in the city largely appeared to be successful as a majority of markets in Delhi remained shut.

Most major markets in the National Capital, including Connaught Place, Chawri Bazaar, South Extension, Sarojini Nagar, Kamla Nagar, Karol Bagh, Greater Kailash and Hauz Khas, were shut on Tuesday. The city’s traders are demanding an immediate moratorium on sealing till a final solution is found to the ongoing sealing drive.

However, some markets such as Laxmi Nagar and Chandni Chowk were seen opening up for business after 3pm.

Agitated traders also announced a rally on March 28 at Ramlila Maidan to press for their demands.

This is the third time this year that traders have observed a shutdown in Delhi’s markets against the sealing drive, which started on December 22 on the direction of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. Earlier on January 23 and February 2, thousands of shops across the city observed a strike against the sealing drive.

As of March 12, the three municipal corporations have sealed over 3,200 shops in the city over the alleged use of residential properties for commercial use, encroachment, misuse and running shop on “non-notified roads”.

To decide their future strategy, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), an apex body of 2,200 market associations, called for a “Traders’ Panchayat” in Karol Bagh on Tuesday.

“More than seven lakh commercial establishments and more than 2,500 markets across Delhi participated in (Tuesday’s) bandh. We have demanded that the Delhi government pass a bill to stop the sealing drive on first day of assembly session, which is scheduled to begin from March 16, and forward the same to Centre so that a moratorium on sealing can be brought,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general for CAIT.

“To strengthen our movement, we have also decided to organise mega rally at Ramlila Maidan on March 28, which will see participation of one lakh traders. We will wait for the Supreme Court’s reaction on the affidavit filed by Delhi Development Authority and the Centre’s decision on this issue,” Khandelwal said.

CAIT claimed that the day-long bandh resulted in a total loss of ₹1,800 crore for the traders and a total revenue loss of ₹150 crore for the government in the form of taxes.

“Since the next master plan 2021-2041 is under preparation, it would be better that instead of penalising the violators, the focus should be on drafting the next master plan properly and giving amnesty to those traders who did their construction before December 2017,” said Vijay Kumar, president of South Extension I RWA.

The Chamber of Trade Industries, another traders’ body with 400 member market associations, also observed the day-long bandh and carried symbolic funeral procession against sealing.

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 23:44 IST