With the civic agencies conducting sealing drives across the city and the AAP accusing them of targeting traders to fill their coffers, the issue of the status of 351 roads is set to be debated in the Delhi Assembly on Monday.
In 2006, taking the city’s growth into account, 2,550 roads were notified by the Delhi government as commercial or mixed land use. But the government claimed that due to “certain deficiencies on the part of the MCDs”, 351 roads were not notified.
An official explained, “Right now, the sealing has to do with payment of conversion charges for mixed land use or commercial land use. Or alternately, where markets were operating illegally. But these 351 roads are unique. They also have shops on it, but the proposal for their conversion has been pending since 2006. Legally, these markets, too, should be shut down. But then who is to blame for the 11-year-old file not being cleared?”
Now, both the AAP-led Delhi government and the BJP-led civic bodies are sparring over the delay in notifying the roads. Notifying these roads for mixed land use, which will legalise commercial activities on these stretches, will provide relief to the traders. In the past week, many commercial establishments have been sealed for unauthorised construction, non-payment of charges and misuse of land.
AAP MLA and spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said, “The matter has been pending for 11 years. After coming to power in Delhi, AAP has written five letters to MCDs, seeking information about these roads. However, the MCDs did not provide it, because they want to arm twist shop owners and extort money. When UD minister (Satyendar Jain) asked the three mayors for the information, they sought 10 days, betraying their lack of readiness.”
However, BJP MLA and leader of opposition Vijender Gupta said that in 2007, the corporation had surveyed the roads as per the Delhi Masterplan 2021 and had forwarded a list of roads, including the 351, to the government.