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Delhi traders urge Sonia Gandhi to intervene

The traders held a meeting with the UPA chairperson and submitted a memorandum asking her intervention.

india Updated: Oct 28, 2006 15:29 IST

Thousands of traders in the national capital, faced with the threat of their shops getting sealed for operating illegally from residential areas, on Saturday met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to seek her intervention even as the Group of Ministers met to discuss the issue.

The representative of traders' organisations held a 45-minute long meeting with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson and submitted a memorandum asking for a comprehensive policy on the sealing of shops in residential areas and the demolition of illegal constructions.

The Delhi government had requested the central government to approach the Supreme Court to seek an extension to the Oct 31 deadline for sealing these illegal shops. The court had ordered that the sealing drive be suspended till Nov 1.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who is chairing the GoM, met both Delhi Lt Gov BL Joshi and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday to discuss the issue of 41,0000 traders who are faced with sealing of their stores from Wednesday. The traders have filed affidavits in the Supreme Court.

They discussed various legal options at Friday's meeting but a final decision is expected after the GoM meeting.

According to the apex court order, 44,000 shops will be sealed from next Wednesday. The GoM meeting is also expected to review the law and order situation arising out of the sealing drive that had turned violent last month, resulting in the deaths of four people and injuries to hundreds in Seelumpur town of east Delhi.

The Delhi government has decided to appeal to the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee on sealing for a halt to the drive till Jan 31, 2007, in the wake of the affidavits filed by the traders.

The Delhi government said it would try to pass a resolution in the assembly that the sealing drive be stopped till the finalisation of the Master Plan 2021.

The Confederation of All India Traders has called for a three-day 'Delhi Vyapar Bandh (traders' shutdown)' from Monday to protest the sealing drive.

The civic authority launched its sealing and demolition drive since April.

First Published: Oct 28, 2006 15:29 IST