Seventy-seven basement shops in Greater Kailash-Is M-block market were sealed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in July 2007 following a Delhi High Court directive. The court was hearing a petition filed by a resident on the misuse of shops and the lack of parking space in the market.
The directive came after the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) told the court in July 2007 that the market was developed in the sixties as a shopping-cum-residential complex. This meant only ground floors could be used for commercial purposes while the first floor would remain a residence. The basement was for storage,not to be used commercially. Only professionals like architects,chartered accountants and lawyers are allowed to have basement offices in residential colonies.
However,no one noticed that the market had got the status of a Local Shopping Complex,courtesy an amendment in the Masterplan 2001. This little detail was pointed out by DDA officials in a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna in March 2008. The new status allowed commercial activity on all three floors. The confusion occurred because Masterplan 2021,brought out by the Urban Development Ministry in February 2007,failed to fix conversion charges or the new FAR norms applicable for this particular amendment.
Following the meeting,Khanna had instructed DDA to alter the FAR norms and fix conversion charges for shopkeepers to pay in accordance with the new FAR. The agency will also penalise shopkeepers who have extended their basements beyond the plot line.
Now that the High Court order has upheld the L-Gs directive,shopkeepers will have to submit affidavits promising to adhere to FAR norms.