Updated: February 2, 2018 11:29:34 am
Popular markets in the national capital will remain closed on Friday and Saturday following a call for a bandh by traders’ associations against the sealing drive being carried out by municipal corporations. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which claims the support of 2,000 traders associations in the city, has called for a bandh on February 2 and 3.
Markets such as Connaught Place, Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh, Kamla Nagar, Khan Market, South Extension, Greater Kailash, Lajpat Nagar, Defence Colony, Green Park, Rajouri Garden and Tilak Nagar are likely to remain closed on Friday. Consequently, visitors are likely to be hit hard as the bandh falls on a weekend. A similar bandh was observed on January 19 after markets in South Delhi remained closed to protest against the corporation’s decision to seal shops for carrying out unauthorised constructions.
The traders’ body has decided to carry on with their protest despite Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri saying that the Delhi Master Plan would be amended to take care of their concerns. Puri had said that while the Master Plan would be amended by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the processing time would be reduced.
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Praveen Khandelwal of Confederation Of All India Traders said the ongoing sealing drive was very harmful to the economy. “Almost 25,000 markets will be closed. Protest marches against sealing would be taken out by businessmen in around 500 markets. The ongoing sealing is very harmful to our economy,” he said.
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Traders in the city have been bearing the brunt of sealing since December after it started in the city following a Supreme Court order. The shops were sealed for non-payment of conversion charges, encroachment and illegal construction. Also, 351 roads have been sealed and the corporations have demanded they be notified as commercial or mixed-land use by the Delhi government. For the past two weeks, a pitched political battle over the issue has been raging between the AAP government and the BJP, with both blaming the other.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken held a meeting with members of the Supreme Court-constituted monitoring committee on Thursday and said the ongoing sealing drive in Delhi was “illegal as the existing laws in the Master Plan of Delhi 2021 do not permit the same”. “We are hopeful that no sealing will take place in special areas and village abadi areas of Delhi,” Maken said.
The former Union Minister of State for Urban Development — under whose tenure the Master Plan 2021 was designed — said additional floor-area-ratio and basements should be allowed for commercial purposes in local shopping centres, without the owners having to pay conversion charges because there was a provision in the law for it.
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