The seven-decade-old Meher Chand Market in Lodi Colony — once famous for designer clothes and boutiques but had, of late, lost its sheen after hundreds of shops were sealed in 2018 — will be redeveloped after razing the entire structure.
The South MCD Tuesday passed the proposal regarding the redevelopment of the market. Standing committee head of the civic body, Raj Dutt Gehlot, said all existing structures will be demolished and new construction will take place, wherein shopkeepers will be allowed to build up to two floors.
This would be the first market to be completely pedestrianised, since parking will not be allowed in the complex, he said.
Under the redevelopment scheme, 90% ground coverage with 350 floor area ratio will be allowed, which means shopkeepers will be allowed to build a basement, ground, first and second floors.
In 2018, the basement and first floors of 135 out of 153 shops were sealed, on the directions of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. The rationale was that only the ground floor was permitted in the market as per its original plan, but shopkeepers had illegally built additional space over time.
Gehlot said a standard facade control drawing is being prepared by the SDMC, which means there would be a common theme under which all shops would be constructed so there is uniformity in the look and aesthetic.
Leader of the house of the South MCD, Narender Chawla, said the idea is to allow the market to function like it did before sealing: “Since there will be fresh construction in which all protocols are followed, it will allow them to build additional floors too.”
President of the Meher Chand market association Ashok Sakhuja said this is good news for traders: “We are hoping the process is expedited on the ground soon.”
Under the conditions, each shop owner will get the building plan approved from the civic body. Other requirements such as staircase and size of different components will be as per existing guidelines.
The market dates back to 1948, when refugees from Pakistan were allotted khokhas for Rs 18 a month so they could earn a livelihood. With water seepage in the khokhas becoming a problem, traders demanded a cemented structure. In 1964, the khokhas were demolished and cemented shops on the ground floor were given to traders.
In 1989, amid constant demand, the government agreed to give ownership of land to the traders. In 1995, they got ownership, for which they paid Rs 4.5 lakh. In 2005, traders demanded that they be allowed to build additional floors.
The Land and Development department prepared a plan along with other civic agencies. A map was finalised in 2008 and sent to the MCD for approval, but the corporation did not approve it. With time, the traders expanded and built additional floors which led to action in January 2018. Since then, traders have been running from one agency to another and knocking on the doors of different political leaders seeking relief.
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