Major Markets In Delhi To Remain Closed Today In Protest Of Sealing Drive

| January 23 , 2018 , 11:12 IST

Popular markets of Delhi, including Connaught Place, Karol Bagh and Khan Market are likely to remain closed on Tuesday after a call for a 'bandh' by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in protest against the ongoing sealing drive.

According to CAIT, there will be 2,000 market associations participating in the 1-day strike, with a total of 7 lakh shopkeepers observing the strike. Traders in popular markets including Khan Market, GK 1 and 2, South Extension, Defence Colony, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Kamla Nagar, Laxmi Nagar and Krishna Nagar, have said they will keep their shops closed and participate in protests.

"More than seven lakh commercial establishments belonging to about 2,000 trader associations in city are likely to observe the bandh on Tuesday. Whether wholesale or retail markets, no commercial activity will take place in the city," said Praveen Khandelwal, the national secretary-general of CAIT.

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The protests, taking place in 6 places across Delhi, are being carried out against the sealing drive of the municipal corporations on the direction of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee.

“We have fixed six places in Delhi where protesting traders will also stage a dharna from 12 to 2 pm. The main venue will be Hauz Qazi, near Chawri Bazar Metro station. Besides, traders are requested to support the dharna in large numbers at Kamla Nagar and Model Town in north Delhi, Rajouri Garden in west Delhi, South Extension in south Delhi and Krishna Nagar in east Delhi,” said Khandelwal.

The sealing drive began in Delhi on December 22, 2017, with the South Delhi Municipal Corporation closing down upper floor shops and restaurants in Defence Colony. Subsequently, the sealing drive extended to 20 other markets, including Khan Market, Hauz Khas, Rajendra Nagar, Chhatarpur and Vasant Kunj.

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The sealing is taking place on establishments that are located in residential areas but have not paid the mandatory 'conversion charges' to use the residential property for commercial ventures.

“The shops at local shopping centres (LSCs) were declared commercial in 1998 and there was no mention of the ‘use conversion charge’ at that time. Now the municipal corporation is demanding these charges, forcefully, which is unreasonable. Sealing is conducted without giving any notice and the entire sealing proceedings are being run in a dictatorial manner keeping aside the MCD Act, 1957,” said Vijay Kumar, president, South Extension I market association.

The traders have called for a suitable law or an amnesty scheme which would approve the constructions made till December 31, 2017.