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Sealing drive at Sundar Nagar, other markets; shops shut in South Delhi

Prominent jewellers, shops and restaurants that were partly sealed included Nathu’s, JH Jewellers, Number 8 Bar & Kitchen, Indian Art Corner, ICICI Bank, Ladakh Art Gallery and Curio Palace.

delhi Updated: Jan 20, 2018 08:37 IST
Vibha Sharma
Vibha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Delhi,delhi news sealing
Police, MCD officials and shopkeepers at Sundar Nagar Market in New Delhi on Friday.

The crackdown on alleged misuse of properties in local markets continued on Friday with the municipal corporation sealing upper floors of 21 of 34 buildings in the posh Sundar Nagar market on Mathura Road even as traders in south Delhi shut shops in protest.

The civic body also sealed 160 units in seven other markets—Saket (H Block), Rajouri Garden, Model Town III, New Qutub Raod (Paharganj), Shankar Raod Market (New Rajinder nagar), Paschim Vihar and Timarpur —on the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee’s direction for illegal construction.

“The shops at Sunder Nagar were sealed for converting residential properties for commercial use without paying the ‘use conversion charge’,” said a South Delhi Municipal Corporation official.

Prominent jewellers, shops and restaurants that were partly sealed included Nathu’s, JH Jewellers, Number 8 Bar & Kitchen, Indian Art Corner, ICICI Bank, Ladakh Art Gallery and Curio Palace.

The owners of seven shops, who submitted ‘use conversion charge’ at reduced rates (R 22,274 per square metre) notified by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) last month and presented documents to back their claims, were spared. No misuse was found in six shops.

Unlike other markets, the civic officials didn’t face resistance in Sunder Nagar from traders but they said the sealing drive was ‘unreasonable’.

Ajay Gupta, a member of the Sundar Nagar Market Association, said, “As per the Delhi Master Plan 1962, the residential portions in market were categorised as ‘non-conforming’ and the land use of market was shown as ‘commercial’ in the zonal development plan of Delhi Development Authority.”

“Further, in 1990, the market was given 100% ‘commercial’ status after a notification issued by the DDA. Our question is when the market was declared fully ‘commercial’, what is the logic for demanding ‘use conversion charge’,” he said.

“We tried showing civic officials documents to prove our claims but they were not ready to listen,” said Subhash Kwatra, president of the market association.

South Delhi bandh

The bandh called by traders of eight prominent markets in south Delhi on Friday was successful as most shops remained closed.

Shutters were down in prominent markets such as Greater Kailash and II, South Extension I and II, Defence Colony, Green Park, Hauz Khas and Kailash Colony among others.

Hundreds of shop owners gathered at the South Extension I market and staged a demonstration against the sealing drive.

They carried black flags and shouted slogans, calling the sealing drive unjustified, unreasonable and against the principles of natural justice.

Traders said the amount demanded by the civic agency as ‘use conversion charge’ (R 22,270 per square metre) was much higher compared to shops on roads under mixed land and commercial use in Master Plan 2021 (R 6,136).

“They can increase their floor area coverage (FAR) till 300 but for local shopping complexes, FAR beyond 180 is not permissible,” said Vikram Bhasin, president of the Greater Kailash II market association.

Meenakshi Lekhi, MP from New Delhi Constituency, and former Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay met the traders and extended support.

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 00:17 IST