North body to regularise 900 chabutras in Old Delhi
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation ‘s amnesty scheme for shopkeepers to regularise chabutras comes with a cost of twice the circle rate.Updated: Sep 01, 2018 03:59 IST
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation has decided to regularise around 900 municipal chabutras (elevated platforms in front of buildings) in Chandni Chowk, starting from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid.
On Thursday, the civic agency met Chandni Chowk traders and offered to regularise such structures and give them ownership rights if they agreed to submit double the circle rate amount.
“We aim to bring an amnesty scheme whereby shop owners, who have covered the chabutras for decades by violating the building bylaws, will be able to regularise these properties by paying double the circle rate amount on occupied property,” said Veena Virmani, standing committee chairperson of North DMC.
In 1911, the erstwhile Municipal Committee constructed chabutras, measuring 2-5 feet in size, in front of all shops in Chandni Chowk, Khari Boali and main Sadar Bazar to align the buildings and create symmetry because the shops were constructed haphazardly and at different point of time.
As per MCD norms, these chabutras were open on top and only takhatbandi (wooded covering on three sides) was allowed, subject to approval of design. .
“But with the passage of time, shopkeepers enclosed these chabutras with concrete walls and shutters. It was later extended to the fifth floor. All these constructions were done without technical plans. Their owners also didn’t pay chabutra tax for years to MCD,” said Virmani.
The civic agency later increased the tax amount and demolished some structures, calling them illegal extensions, traders say.
“But that fact was that these chabutras were rented spaces given to us as per the MCD’s policy. The civic body had been recovering rent for these chabutras since 1911. But in 2000, they stopped recovering tax, claiming that it is an encroachment,” Bhargava said
In 2003, shop owners took the matter to the Delhi high court.
“In 2009, court disposed of the matter and issued directions to civic agency to recover tax or rent from shopkeepers and demolish the extensions beyond permissible limits. But since then, no MCD official took interest in the matter despite our repeated requests,” said Sanjay Bhargava, president of the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal.
Now, the standing committee chairman shown interest and the MCD is ready to given them ownership rights provided shopkeepers pay tax arrears.
The amnesty scheme, if implemented, will help in recovering ₹250-300 crore as regularisation charges from the civic agency, the North DMC official said.