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Traders resist sealing drive in Chhattarpur marble market

The south civic body officials, on the direction of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee, was taking action against the traders for misusing ‘agricultural land for commercial use’.

delhi Updated: Dec 27, 2017 00:57 IST
Vibha Sharma
Vibha Sharma
Hindustan Times
delhi,delhi news,sealing
MCD sealed shops and farmhouses at Chhattarpur on Tuesday.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

A large crowd of traders and workers of Chattarpur marble market on Tuesday tried to prevent South Delhi Municipal Corporation officials from carrying out a sealing drive in the area.

The south civic body officials, on the direction of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee, was taking action against the traders for misusing ‘agricultural land for commercial use’.

However, due to strong resistance the officials could seal only one farmhouse on Tuesday. Ramaya Farms, the sealed property, is a popular venue for weddings.

The drive will continue from 11am on Wednesday, with the civic body having written to Delhi Police requesting adequate force for protection.

Agitated traders on Tuesday blamed the monitoring committee for being “biased in their action” and targeting marble units only. Many of them were seen arguing with officials for not serving any sealing orders before and after the drive.

“If the monitoring committee is so concerned about the misuse of agricultural land for commercial purpose then why are they targeting only traders running marble units on this 100-foot wide road. Starting from Chattarpur Metro Station, all the commercial units are illegal here and are operating on agricultural land,” said Narendra Jangir, a trader running a marble unit in area.

Protesting traders later squatted on the road and opposed the sealing operations amid heavy police arrangement. They said that the sealing action will leave at least 20,000 people, who are associated with 100 marble trading units in area, jobless.

“I have been ferrying marble consignments from this place to markets across the city and elsewhere for the last 10 years. After these units are sealed, where will I go for earning my livelihood?” asked Ram Kumar, a truck owner.

The Chattarpur marble market has been running for the last 17 years. In 2006, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had issued notices to traders for running units illegally. “But we managed to get a stay order from the Delhi High Court. This time also, we are left with no other choice but to take the matter up in court,” said Subhash Singh, a trader.

“We have no issues in shifting from this place. But, we should be given time to present our case as well before the civic body and the monitoring committee. We oppose the dictating attitude of the MCD and monitoring committee,”said Ronak Aggarwal, another trader.

Officials of SDMC and Delhi Police initiated the sealing drive, in accordance with the instructions of the SC panel, on Thursday by shutting ten establishments in Chattarpur for misusing agricultural land for commercial purposes. On Friday, as many as 51 shops and restaurants in Defence Market colony were partially and completely sealed for non payment of conversion charges.

“Due to strong resistance against the sealing drive, action against erring traders was delayed. The buildings department could seal only Ramaya Farm house for making additional built up area,” said the SDMC in a press statement issued on Tuesday.

However, Varun Chaudhary, owner of Ramaya Farm said that he taken permission from all authorities — traffic police, south civic body and fire department to run the place. “Also we have been submitting the required fees before organising social events. If there were any issues, then why did the SDMC not raise an alarm before,” he said.

“Advance notices as per provisions of the MCD Act were not served anywhere on the pretext that the civic body is carrying sealing as per orders of the monitoring committee. The question arises whether monitoring committee or any other body can violate the mandatory provision of a governing act, which has been passed by the Parliament?” asked Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) secretary general Praveen Khandelwal.

The CAIT has also sought an appointment with Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Hardeep Puri on the issue.

First Published: Dec 27, 2017 00:57 IST