South Delhi traders hail move to de-seal shops
If all goes well, traders in south Delhi can soon hope to resume work out of their establishments that were sealed earlier this year.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Thursday approved by-laws and issued a circular to allow de-sealing of commercial units in local shopping complexes (LSCs).
Market association leaders said they were hopeful the order would be implemented without any further obstacles. The traders said though they are yet to see the circular, it had been a long-pending move after the Union government notified amendments to the Delhi Master Plan-2021.
Jagdish Gupta, who owns a sports utility store at the Defence Colony market, from where the sealing action began on December 22 last year, said it would be a huge relief to a number of shop owners who have been working out of rented or leased places.
“We had been expecting the news for long, as we had moved an application for de-sealing in June. We are yet to receive a formal notification. If de-sealing starts, it will be a new lease of life for a large number of traders who had run out of business,” said Gupta, a member of the traders’ association.
The upper and first floors of 51 properties in the markets, housing around 100 establishments, were sealed on December 22. This was followed by the sealing of basements in all buildings on January 16.
After his store was sealed, Gupta had leased out a shop in the flyover market nearby. “It is extremely difficult to set up a new shop and start the business afresh, as one runs out of customers. Many others had set up small counters on the footpath to earn their living,” he said.
Jayram Banan, who owns the popular Swagath restaurant in the Defence Colony market, said sales have not been even 30%. The basement, first and second floors of his restaurant was sealed.
“It will be a huge relief. The market has been empty. The staff have run out of jobs. We have paid conversion charges of around ₹1.28 crore for two restaurants. We hope to resume business with de-sealing,” said Banan, who also owns Sagar Ratna, a popular south Indian chain.
Vijay Israni, vice-president, Green Park Main Market Association, said, he was expecting to see the approved guidelines by Saturday. “We are hoping to receive a circular regarding de-sealing from SDMC tomorrow. Most owners in the market paid the conversion charges,” said Israni.
A total of ₹40 crore was deposited as conversion charge by the market, he said. The basements and the third floor of 25 establishments in the market, which has 41 buildings, were sealed during the drive earlier this year.
Similarly, Rajesh Jain, who owns a grocery store in Hauz Khas market, welcomed the move.
“It has been seven months since the shops were sealed. Shopkeepers have somehow been trying to make do, as business has totally gone down,” said Jain. The upper floors and basements of 38 of the 52 properties in Hauz Khas were sealed on January 16.