Delhi’s Sealing Drive: SC Calls Govt’s Approach Callous; Traders Announce Mega Protest On March 28
Delhi government, which has been taking strong steps against those who have faulted in paying conversion charges or have encroached to set shop through a sealing drive, was recently pulled up by the Supreme Court (SC). However, the SC maintains that the government's approach has been callous.
While the SC says enough is not being done, the traders in Delhi, on the other hand, are crying foul against the ongoing sealing drive across the city. Traders of nearly 3,000 markets in Delhi will be taking to the streets on March 28 to protest against the arbitrary moves of the government and shut shop.
Strong action against encroachment
The Delhi government has been taking steps towards curbing encroachment, that has been causing congestion and higher pollution levels in the city.
*It was in December last year that Delhi’s municipal corporations started a sealing drive against businesses that have failed to pay the conversion charges for using property for commercial purposes, encroachment and illegal construction on the instructions of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. So far, over 500 shops have been sealed across Lajpat Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Defence Colony, among others.
*Recently, in order to curb encroachments on roads that cause congestion, Delhi’s traffic police have made roads along Green Park, Karol Bagh and Vikas Marg into no parking zones. The traffic police, for this, have identified 40 points where encroachment could be removed, the roads could be made wider and in turn, ease the traffic.
*Going further, the state government is also expected to come up with a notice on mixed-land use along 351 roads. The government awaits the SC’s approval. Once approved, it would pave way to legalise commercial establishments on the 351 roads identified. This will help the government to avoid massive sealing against commercial establishments along these roads.
However, the Delhi government is taking many steps to curb encroachment, congestion and pollution, the SC has pulled up the government for not being able to provide any comprehensive action plan to check encroachments and pollution in the national capital.
A Bench of justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that the government is not serious about removing the encroachments from the streets of Delhi and no concrete proposals or plans have been given to the court.
During the hearing, the Counsel for the Delhi government and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) submitted sealing drive reports for which the Bench said they will consider during the next hearing on April 2.
On March 6, the apex court had stayed the progress of the Delhi Master Plan 2021 to curb encroachment from the ongoing sealing drive.
According to the SC, Delhi government was to file a report on what it was doing to remove encroachment but failed to do so. Now, the SC has slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on the government for non-submission of the report. It was earlier that the counsel of the Delhi government had assured the SC that the government was working on the recommendations of the task force. However, the SC had asked for a detailed report on the same.
Traders’ demand a stop on sealing
If numbers are to be believed, as many as seven lakh businesses across 3,000 markets in Delhi will be shut on March 28 as traders will hold a mega rally at the Ramlila Grounds. The traders will be protesting against the ongoing sealing drive in Delhi and to demand protection against the same. The traders, their employees and even family members are expected to participate in the rally.
Jointly organised by the CAIT and All Delhi Traders, Vyapari and Workers Association, with the bandh the traders will be demanding the Central government for a bill or an ordinance to stop the sealing.
Some of the key markets that are expected to remain shut include Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazar, South Extension, Rajouri Garden, Chawri Bazar, Lajpat Nagar, Laxmi Nagar, etc. Additionally, transport and logistics companies are also expected to withdraw their services for tomorrow.
With inputs from Housing News