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Sealing drive on; traders continue fast

Traders continue their hunger strike on Thursday as MCD carries forward its sealing drive in the national capital.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 12:26 IST

Traders continued their hunger strike on Thursday as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) went on with the drive to seal unauthorised commercial establishments in residential areas, with the exception of 25,000 traders who got a temporary reprieve from the Supreme Court.

The traders who have given affidavits for voluntary closure have been spared. After the apex court's directives on Wednesday that allow fresh affidavits to be submitted by these commercial establishments by Nov 19, the sealing drive is likely to target shops along about 45 roads in the capital, an official said.

"The drive will target those establishments which have not filed affidavits and are not covered under the two notifications of the central government dated Sep 7 and 15," a MCD official told on Thursday.

These notifications allow mixed land use in certain areas in the capital.

The traders have decided to continue with their hunger strike on Rajghat to protest against sealing and to pressurise the government to raise the issue in Parliament, when it meets for the winter session next week.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is also likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday to discuss the situation arising from the sealing drive that has pitted the trading community against the authorities.

The central government and MCD had filed separate petitions asking for relief for nearly 25,000 traders who had filed affidavits.

Since Nov 8, authorities have sealed over 735 commercials units, including guest houses, restaurants, play schools and even a couple of government offices after the Supreme Court ordered the sealing of commercial establishments violating Delhi's Master Plan.

The operation resumed two days after the apex court dismissed three petitions of the MCD and the central government.

First Published: Nov 16, 2006 12:26 IST