The ongoing sealing drive by civic bodies remained the centrestage of discussion in the Delhi Assembly Tuesday, with speaker Ram Niwas Goel referring the matter to the special committee of the House and asking for a report in the next session, likely to be held within two months.
He also directed all three MCD commissioners and senior officers to appear before the nine-member committee, headed by AAP MLA Bhavna Gaur. “I direct the commissioners and all other officers of MCDs to depose before the committee as and when desired by the committee and state the truth,” Goel said.
The drive is being carried out by a Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee against business establishments using residential properties for commercial purposes, failing to pay conversion charge or encroaching upon government land. AAP MLAs also alleged that the sealing drive is being carried out at the behest of BJP-led municipal corporations to extract money from traders and that the corporations have “no details of over Rs 1,000 crore collected as conversion charges” from traders over the last few years.
Labour minister Gopal Rai said, “The BJP is saying that it has got the conversion charges rate notified from Rs 80,000 to Rs 22,000 (per square metre), then why can’t it waive the charges?”
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had, on December 29, released a notification fixing conversion charge at R 22,274 per square metre to convert residential spaces to commercial ones. Hitting back at the AAP, the BJP said most of their leaders are “unaware of sealing and should first get familiar with the issue”.
Leader of opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta said, “The AAP MLAs are speaking against the BJP, but they are not speaking a word against the monitoring committee.”
“It is due to AAP’s double standards that Delhi markets are facing this problem. The Delhi government did not notify 351 roads, which, if done on time, would have stopped sealing in these areas. The MCD had approved it in 2007. We sent repeated reminders but they sat on it.”
Responding to the allegations, Rai said the sealing drive has been launched by the BJP-led civic bodies across the city and not only on these roads. “Defence Colony, Khan Market and Mehar Chand markets are not on these roads.
They say we didn’t notify but the MCDs have been asked to submit a detailed report on the issue by January 22. You give me a report and I will notify it in a day.”