TO PROTEST the ongoing sealing drive, which has affected hundreds of traders, most shops across prominent markets in the capital remained shut on Tuesday. The bandh by traders was supported by the Chamber of Trade and Industries, along with the AAP’s trade wing and the Congress. The BJP has also extended moral support to it.
Most markets in Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazaar, Chawri Bazar, Kamla Nagar, Karol Bagh, Kashmere Gate, South Extension I and II, Naya Bazar, Bhagirath Palace, Paharganj, Rajouri Garden, Defence Colony, and Hauz Khas remained shut.
Civic bodies in north, south and central Delhi have been carrying out sealing drives, which started late last month at the instance of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. President of the traders’ association of Meher Chand market, Ashok Sakhuja, said, “The whole of Delhi has encroachments and we are ready to pay a fine. But instead of giving us a solution, our businesses are being made to suffer.” He said the shopkeepers will stage an indefinite bandh if there is no solution to the problem of traders by January 31.
Congress state unit president Ajay Maken said Delhi has been witnessing the sealing drive for the past moth, but neither the BJP nor the AAP has taken any step to provide relief to the traders. “The traders are demanding that the Centre should protect them from the sealing by bringing an ordinance, and an amnesty scheme on building and commercial activities on ‘as is where is basis’,” the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said.
CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “I urge Centre to bring Ordinance, if required, to protect Delhi’s traders from sealing. Delhi government offers all cooperation to Centre. Economic situation is already grim. Sealing has hit traders very hard. It is our duty to protect them.”
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said, “If the AAP leaders feel there is corruption in the sealing process, I challenge them to raise the matter with proof before the monitoring committee, or else, stop misleading people.”