Several shops in various markets in Delhi were shuttered as part of a day-long bandh called by an industry body to protest against the ongoing sealing drives by the civic bodies.
Action is being taken against properties for non-payment of conversion charges, or for alleged violation of civic norms such as encroachments or illegal constructions.
The agitation held under the umbrella of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) affected markets in Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Chawri Bazar, Kamla Nagar, Karol Bagh, Kashmere Gate, Khari Baoil, Naya Bazar, Bhagirath Palace, Paharganj, Rajouri Garden, among other places.
In a statement, the CAIT claimed that scores of “trade associations across the city have joined ‘Delhi Trade Bandh’, and commercial activities came to a standstill”.
Civic bodies in north, south and central Delhi have been carrying out sealing drives, which started late last month with action against over 50 shops in Defence Colony Market, at the instance of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee.
Several wholesale and commercial markets across Delhi today kept their shutters down to protest against the sealing actions in Delhi, the CAIT said, which it reiterated was in “utter violation of statutory provisions of the DMC Act”.
“The traders are demanding that the Centre should protect traders from sealing by bringing an ordinance, and an amnesty scheme on building and commercial activities on ‘as is where is basis’,” CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.
The CAIT also demanded notification of 351 roads in Delhi for commercial or mixed-land use.
“The local shopping centres were given on commercial rates and now conversion charge is being demanded and sealing is conducted without giving any notice, which can’t be held justified. The entire sealing proceedings are being run in a dictatorial manner keeping aside the DMC Act, 1957,” Khandelwal claimed.
All three major parties in Delhi, the ruling AAP, Congress and the BJP, which also controls the three municipal corporations, have extended their support to the traders.
Cong blames AAP,BJP for traders’ problems due to sealing drive
The Congress today hit out at AAP and the BJP for the problems being faced by the traders and property owners. Under the Delhi Special Laws Act enacted by the Congress- led UPA government, demolition of unauthorised constructions were stopped up to June 1, 2014, Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said.
“If this protection is not extended till 1 June, 2017, then there will be massive demolitions at urban villages and unauthorised colonies, for which the BJP-ruled Central government and AAP government in Delhi will be responsible,” he said.
In the blame game between the BJP and AAP, the traders and their workers and labourers were suffering, he alleged. Maken, in his letter to Union urban development minister Hardip Puri last month, had demanded reduction in conversion charges so that it could be paid easily.
Conversion charge is levied on changing of land use from residential to commercial or mixed land use.
The BJP-ruled municipal corporations in north and south Delhi have undertaken the sealing drive on instructions of the Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee.
Delhi State Traders Congress coordinator Ajay Arora said that the losses due to the strike should be recovered from the AAP government and the MCDs ruled by the BJP.
(With inputs from PTI)