The sealing drive at Amar Colony, slated for Tuesday, has the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee at loggerheads, with the former stating that sealing cannot be carried out as the area enjoys immunity under special provisions and the latter saying it will go ahead with its plan to seal 250 commercial premises.
The sealing scare hit Amar Colony, the third time in a little over a year, as 250 properties got notices over unauthorised construction and for using residential areas for commercial activity.
These properties are ‘type C’ tenements where the ground floor is being used commercially, and upper floors are being used for residential purposes. The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act 2011, which came into effect in 2006, prohibits sealing drives against unauthorised shops, factories and hotels built before that year. Allowance period has been extended five times, most recently till December 31, 2020.
Monitoring committee member Bhure Lal, however, said the team will go ahead with sealing Tuesday. He said it was not just unauthorised constructions the committee was looking at, but also the commercial use of residential areas. “If officials and police do not support us, let them answer in court,” Lal said.
Sources in the South MCD said there are 24 blocks with 256 houses each in Amar Colony where people have constructed more than three floors when they were allowed just two.
The corporation, sources said, has prepared a list of 11,000 residential properties in the area constructed by government agencies which have been misused for commercial purposes or where encroachment has been reported.
Councillor of the area, Congress’s Abhishek Dutt, said the ministry’s intervention is delayed. “What they have done now should have been done much earlier,” he said.
Delhi Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain also said that if sealing takes place, it will be in “gross violation” of the special provisions.
“If the Monitoring Committee wants to undertake any demolition or take any action, it must take permission from the Supreme Court before doing so. Sealing cannot be carried out in Amar Colony because all buildings in Amar Colony are pre-2009 and have protection under law. If sealing is carried despite this, it will be in gross violation… and an Act of Parliament will have no meaning left,” he said.