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|Demolished by MCD List Of UnAuthorised Constructs DELHI|
|25.05.2007. A whole local
economy thrives around a single shop. This includes the chai and dhabhawala,
courier services, STD booths and cartmen. Many are directly dependent on
such shops for their monthly income. The livelihood of this segment has
also been affected by sealing,’’ asserts Praveen Khandelwal, secretary
general, Confederation of All India Traders. r Satinder Wadhwa, owner of
a watch showroom in GK-1, the sealing of his shop last November was difficult
to digest. ‘‘MCD authorities say I don’t have permission from the local
RWA to operate my showroom. We have been selling watches here for over
four years now. We have also paid all commercial taxes.’’
A planning commission in the MCD will be set up soon to accelerate the pace of organised development in Delhi. Besides, the commission would streamline planning system and accomplish preparation of zonal plan and layout plans, said Vijender Gupta, chairman, Standing Committee of MCD today at a seminar, ‘Chalo Shahar Banaye’, organised by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
Former Delhi chief secretary
Shri Omesh Saigal, eminent town planner R.G. Gupta, Jasbir Malik, RWA advocate
in Supreme Court besides leading figures of education, health and other
sectors and representatives of trade and RWA bodies participated in the
99.5% city traders are
As the sword of sealing hangs over the traders once again with the Supreme Court's directives, government has gone into a damage control mode. According to highly placed Congress sources, the party high command has directed Maken to make good the political damage done by the apex court's directive on resumption of the sealing drive.
AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot held a meeting with Maken on Friday and asked him to clear the confusion regarding sealings. Sources said that the party has asked Maken to step in and assuage angry traders as this could easily effect the political fortune of the party in the forthcoming municipal elections.
Maken referred to the files of the Union urban development ministry under NDA's regime and presented them before the media on Sunday. In what is being seen as a desperate attempt to deflect attention from sealing drive, Maken read out from the ministry files to prove a few points at the cost of BJP. The opposition has been harping on the fact that the only way Delhi's traders can be saved is through an amnesty scheme. Maken said: "Sealing issue is like Babri Masjid controversy for the BJP. It suits their political interests to let issues go unresolved. This is why they are creating confusion. As ordered by the court, sealings will begin on March 28 but you will see that there would be no effect. It will be just one or two stray cases."
Maken said that the same amnesty scheme, as proposed by senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra under the NDA regime, was not accepted by the Centre's successive UD ministers like Jagmohan and Ananth Kumar. He said: "How can they expect us to accept such an amnesty scheme? They themselves were not in favour. If they wanted they could have introduced the scheme for the traders."
This is not all. Maken held
meetings with trader bodies on Sunday morning. He visited Amar Colony traders
to clear the air on sealings. The specific area, which falls under his
parliamentary constituency, has six and a half roads that have been notified
as "mixed land use" streets. The traders have been demanding some clarity
on the status of some other roads. Maken said: "Confusion is in your mind.
Every trader is clear about where he stands."
Demanding that the Master Plan be implemented immediately to save traders and residents from the ongoing sealing and demolition drives, CAIT leaders demanded that there should be no classification and categorisation of businesses and traders while granting relief to the traders and protect their livelihood.
Pointing out that multiplicity of authorities in the Capital was the main reason behind all civic ills, CAIT general secretary Praveen Khandelwal said the Government should form an integrated mechanism of administration in the city that could directly deal with all such civic problems.
"The Centre should form a Delhi Vision Group under the chairmanship of the Lieutenant-Governor besides setting up a Delhi Urban Regulatory Authority comprising town planners, structural engineers and representatives of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Development Authority," said Mr. Khandelwal.
The Tejinder Khanna Committee has also said that there should be a Delhi Real Estate Commission to maintain digital data of all urban properties and for giving licences to property dealers and real estate agents and enforce their activities. Similarly an Empowered Special Task Force for key infrastructure projects was also required urgently, he added.
Extending its support to
the traders protesting against the sealing drive in various other States
including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka, CAIT leaders said they
would intensify their agitation in the Capital demanding an end to all
sealing and demolition activities not only in Delhi but the entire country.
"In Delhi, CAIT will organise meetings and stage dharnas in various parts
of the city in the days to come."
Traders form panel to
examine sealing issues
Mr Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT secretary general, said that ‘Traders Special Task Force’ would be chaired by Mr Murli Mani, an eminent trade leader, while noted architect and town planner, Mr S. C. Jain, and an expert on DDA matters, Mr A. K. Dev, would serve the task force as technical members.
Leading trade leaders Mr Suresh Bindal, Mr Anil Kapoor and Mr Atul Bhargava will be other members of the task force, besides CAIT Delhi state president, Mr Ramesh Khanna, and general secretary, Mr Narender Madan, who will act as ex-officio members of the task force.
Mr Khandelwal said that the task force was assigned the job to examine various aspects that included regularisation of all business establishments that existed as on December 31, 2005, remedial measures to deal with increasing parking problems and removal of encroachments.
It would also consider ways and means to protect centuries old distributive character of Delhi Trade and development of wholesale and retail business of Delhi, he said, adding that after making in-depth study, the task force would prepare its exhaustive report by December 25.
The CAIT secretary general further informed that the report of the task force would be submitted to the Urban Development Minister Mr Jaipal Reddy, his State Minister, Mr Ajay Maken, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Mr B. L. Joshi, and Chief Minister Ms Shiela Diskhit and the senior BJP leader and in-charge of Delhi affairs, Mr V. K. Malhotra.
SC provides relief to
18,000 traders from sealing
MCD House for adding 1,000
more roads in list
The Municipal Commissioner said that the MCD would wait till tomorrow’s Supreme Court hearing on a plea for providing relief for traders facing sealing before going ahead with the survey. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) today strongly refuted the government’s claims of providing relief to a majority of traders from the sealing drive in the Capital, saying that about six lakh business establishments were still facing the prospects of being sealed. It asked the government to evolve a ‘permanent solution’ to the problem in the current session of Parliament, which began today. Mr Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT secretary general, said that there were about 7 lakh commercial establishments in Delhi. Out of them, about 2 lakh establishments were located on 2,183 roads notified by the government, and only about one lakh were getting interim relief.
Mr Khandelwal further said that about 2 lakh commercial establishments were operating on non-notified roads, whereas about 2.5 lakh shops were being run from unauthorised colonies and about 50 thousand business establishments were working on roads having width less than 50 feet. All these establishments were facing the threat of being sealed. He further said that about 30 lakh people from lower strata and 5 lakh migrant people from nearby states of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan were employed in such business establishment.
Mr Satish Garg, Convenor, Anti-Sealing Movement and Mr Murli Mani, Delhi Chairman of CAIT, demanded from the Union Government to bring constitutional amendment to protect traders from sealing. The leaders regretted that even when the current session began today, the government so far had not made any statement about carrying out constitutional amendment in this regard.
They also demanded that the
sealed shops be de-sealed and in order to bring a permanent solution, the
government should take measures for the early implementation of Master
Plan 2021 after consulting all concerned sections, including traders.
Delhi traders close down
Sheila, MLAs seek PM’s
intervention in halting drive
Ms Dikshit, along with her party MLAs, pleaded before the Prime Minister for an early implementation of the ‘Delhi Master Plan 2021’ so that some relief could be given to the affected traders, sources said.
The CM appealed to the Prime
Minister to hand over more land owned by
The Delhi Development Authority, a department of the Urban Development Ministry, should also be handed over to Delhi Government to work out land-related problems, Ms Dikshit demanded.
The DPCC Chief, Mr Ram Babu Sharma, who also accompanied the CM in the meeting, meanwhile, appealed for grant of full statehood to Delhi and an amnesty scheme to provide relief to traders.
The DPCC chief also demanded that the 1,700-odd unauthorised colonies in Delhi should be regularised under the old scheme formulated during the regime of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
This was the third meeting between the CM and PM regarding the issue.
Meanwhile, the MCD undertook a drive against illegal shops at Keshav Marg in West Delhi and Gautam Nagar in South Delhi. It is also expected to seal some premises in Qutub Institutional Area where some properties have been misused.
A total of 33 units were sealed today. Of these, 10 units were located on Ring Road in front of Lajpat Nagar-IV, Nehru Nagar and Ashram falling under Central zone.
In South Zone, 18 units located at Keshavpur Marg, Raja Garden and PWD Road number 237 Hastsal in West Zone were also sealed.
The traders’ relay hunger strike at Raj Ghat against the sealing drive also entered the second day today.
Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CIAT), said the traders would also seek the Prime Minister’s intervention for evolving a comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation of the affected traders.
BJP activists led by former Union Minister, Mr Vijay Goel, are also scheduled to hold a march tomorrow from Shakur Basti to Punjabi Bagh to pressurise the government to provide relief to the traders.
“We will be back to square one when the extended deadline of January 31 expires. We want the Centre to come out with some concrete package before we are uprooted from our places,” he said.
Traders of South India have
also declared their support for Delhi traders protesting against the sealing
drive. Over 1,000 traders belonging to Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram
observed a fast today. The fast was organised by the Federation of Tamil
Nadu Traders’ Association.
Centre moves SC seeking
relief for Delhi traders
The application filed by the Urban Development Ministry before the apex court registry also sought notifications of the apex court orders of September 29 and November six.
In its application, the ministry had asked the apex court to spare about 25,000 traders who have given affidavits to stop the misuse of residential premises for commercial activities and covered by the September 7 and 15 notifications which allows trading activities in over 2,000 roads from the drive.
The Ministry said the situation in which the earlier applications were heard and disposed off by the court on November six were considerably different as those were heard in view of the law and order problem that had emerged after the three-day strike call given by the traders.
However, after the last order on November six the question on ground has changed considerably, the application said adding, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has resumed sealing under the supervision of the court-appointed monitoring committee.
"The sealing activity is
being conducted with full police and para-military protection. Several
glaring offenders have already sealed. It is also understood that some
of the establishments who had given undertaking have already ceased misuse
in compliance with the undertaking," the application said.
Sealing on in DELHI
The sealing drive took off in the Moolchand area in south Delhi and is expected to move towards Ashram, Defence Colony, South Extension and Greater Kailash.
"Like yesterday, the drive will continue in the south and central zones today. By starting from these two upmarket zones, we want to convey the message that all are equal in the eye of law. There is no question of not targeting the big fish," said a top official of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The Delhi government's education department said all schools in the Capital had reopened as no violence had been reported on Wednesday.
Scores of commercial establishments, including the main office of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), had been sealed on Wednesday amid tight security and renewed zeal.
MCD squads sealed showrooms, general stores and guesthouses in several upscale residential colonies like Ashram, Safdarjung Enclave, Africa Avenue, Srinivaspuri and Maharani Bagh.
Similar drives were also carried out in Hauz Khas and South Extension-II. A total of 171 commercial establishments were sealed in the south and central zones.
On Monday the Supreme Court had dismissed a bunch of petitions filed by the MCD and the central government and directed that the sealing operation resumed immediately.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre, Delhi Government and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on a petition seeking directions to use surplus land available in the city to rehabilitate the traders affected by the sealing drive.
A bench comprising acting Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kailash Gambhir directed the central and state governments and DDA to file their replies within four weeks on the petition filed by Saraansh, a welfare association.
The petition submitted that the shortage of commercial space in Delhi had resulted in the commercial use of residential premises.
It also gave direction to the DDA to develop commercial spaces on urgent
basis and allot them to the needy people at subsidised rates
SC orders Delhi sealing
drive to continue
"We find no ground whatsoever to modify our order dated September 29, 2006 (sealing of unauthorised shops)," a bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal said dismissing applications of the Centre, Delhi government and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) seeking relief for the traders.
The applications had sought relief on the ground of prevailing law and order situation in the aftermath of the three-day strike by the traders last week.
Over 40,000 traders who had given affidavits to shift their businesses out of residential areas face the prospects of sealing by the MCD under the September 29 order of the apex court.
The court, which made some strong comments on the governments for their inability to resume sealing, said its monitoring committee would file weekly reports in sealed cover and on perusal of these reports and the court would decide if any directions were to be given.
NEW DELHI: A non-cooperation movement, a nationwide strike, no taxes... all this and more were being considered on Monday as traders in the Capital nervously await a Supreme Court verdict on the sealing of unauthorised shops that could spell do or die for their livelihoods.
"There is a lot of apprehension in the community as the judgement will have a bearing on their livelihoods," said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
"We have belief in the judiciary and hope that it will take into consideration our future while deciding on the matter," said Khandelwal, adding that hundreds of thousands of traders were waiting for the verdict.
"If the government does not present our case before the court and the sealing drive is not stopped, we will start a non-cooperation movement against the government and we will stop paying taxes to express our anger."
"We will decide our future course of action after the verdict and the Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting this evening," Khandelwal said.
The GoM, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, meets to take stock of the court verdict and subsequent developments.
The petitions filed by the urban development ministry and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) have detailed the difficulties faced by the authorities in carrying out the court-mandated sealing drive in the city.
The ministry's application urges the apex court to give relief to the 44,000 traders who had submitted affidavits to move out of residential areas by Oct 31, while the MCD petition appeals for giving them time till January 31, 2007.
Traders meet Sonia to
plead their case With eye on civic poll, Cong, BJP support stir against
Detailing the plight of traders following the sealing, a delegation of traders led by the Leader of the House in the MCD, Mr Jitender Kocchar, met the AICC president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, asking her to intervene in the sealing issue and ensure that a constitutional amendment was brought about to protect their interests.
They had a 45-minute meeting with Ms Gandhi and submitted a memorandum, asking for a comprehensive policy on the sealing of shops in residential areas and the demolition of illegal constructions.
They urged Ms Gandhi to intervene and give a reprieve to the traders facing the spectre of sealing again, Mr Praveen Khandelwal of the Confederation of All India Traders said.
He said if the demand of traders was not met they would go on strike for three days from October 30.
Mr Kocchar urged the Congress chief to bring in an amnesty plan for all traders who had set up their shops till December 2005.
They also sought the implementation of the Master Plan of Delhi 2021 by January 31 next year.
The association members told the Congress chief the livelihood of lakhs of employees working with these establishments would be affected.
A delegation of the DPCC led by its president, Mr Ram Babu Sharma, also met the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, and the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr Jaipal Reddy, requesting them to find a suitable solution for saving the traders and lakhs of others from the sealing drive.
The delegation comprised Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr Sajjan Kumar, Ms Krishna Tirath and senior office-bearers of the DPCC.
The BJP secretary, Mr Vijay Goel, and other BJP leaders, including former Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma, former MP Lal Bihari Tiwari, Ms Anita Arya, Mr S. S. Bajwa, general secretary Alok Kumar and NCP leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, also protested against the sealing at Town Hall.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Government has requested the central government to approach the Supreme Court to seek an extension of suspension of sealing drive.
The Union Home Minister,
Mr Shiv Raj Patil, who chairs the Group of Ministers (G0M), had met the
Lt-Governor of Delhi, Mr B. L. Joshi, and the Chief Minister, Ms Sheila
Dikshit, yesterday to discuss the issue.
Delhi Govt to ask SC monitoring
New Delhi, October 26
This decision was taken in view of reports that the three-day bandh called by traders from October 30 could create a serious law and order situation.
The Delhi Police has also indicated that there were chances that the bandh could turn violent since it was spread over three days and there was always a likelihood of the force being spread thin over the huge metropolis.
The Delhi Police has sought additional force for the three-day bandh.
Delhi Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit called an emergency meeting of her Cabinet, in which it was decided that the government will ask the court panel to take a considerate view of the 41,000 traders who have filed affidavits for voluntary closure of their establishments, sources said.
The government will ask the monitoring committee for putting a halt on the sealing drive till January 31, 2007, by which time the Master Plan for Delhi 2007 was likely to be implemented, they said.
While the court-ordered sealing drive against commercial units in residential areas is set to resume on November 1, the traders have decided to go in for a three-day bandh starting from October 30 to protest against the MCD action.
“We keep meeting to find an amicable solution to the sealing issue. We are trying all possible ways to provide relief to the people though finding a solution is tough,” Ms Dikshit said when asked about the Cabinet meeting.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) set up by the Centre on the issue is meeting here tomorrow and again on Saturday.
“We are co-ordinating with the Central government, the MCD and traders to sort out the matter,” Ms Dikshit said.
The traders’ bandh against sealing on September 20 had turned violent, with five persons losing their lives in the violence in the Seelampur area of East Delhi, prompting the Centre to urgently constitute a GoM headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil to find a solution to the problem.
Congress urges committee
to stop drive, implement Master Plan
The issue will be taken up again at the next meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Friday.
Though details of the meeting were not available, sources in the home ministry said the two might have discussed possible solutions and also the "tense" situation prevailing in the Capital with the MCD set to resume its sealing drive.
Dikshit was cautious when asked about the government's stand as the closure of shops seems imminent. She said: "All options to give relief to traders, who have filed affidavits in the Supreme Court for voluntarily closure of their shops, will be looked into. We will certainly try to find out some amicable solution."
So far the GoM, headed by Patil, has been non-committal on the fate of traders who have filed affidavits. The issue will come up again for discussion on Friday.
Dikshit is also believed to have raised the possibility of unrest during the three-day bandh called by traders' association from October 30.
"Since the bandh will coincide with the resumption of sealing drive, the possibility of some kind of lawlessness cannot be ruled out and it is, therefore, important to make full arrangements before going for the closure of shops," an official said.
A bandh on September 20 by
traders protesting against the sealing drive was marred by violence with
five persons being killed in clashes with police.
The delegation members, who included the local MPs Mr Jagdish Tytler, Mr Sajjan Kumar and Mr Krishna Tirath, claimed that they were assured by the monitoring committee member Mr Bhure Lal that the court panel would exercise “authority with compassion” while looking into the issue.
Mr Sharma said, “We have requested the monitoring committee that no shop or trading establishment in the Capital be sealed till the Master Plan for Delhi 2021 is implemented. We discussed the issue with the committee member for 35 minutes.”
He claimed that Mr Lal took serious note of the ‘request’ of the delegation and assured that every possible effort would be made to tackle the problems being faced by the traders as a consequence of the sealing drive.
Mr Sharma claimed that with the implementation of 2021 Delhi Master Plan, about 90 per cent of the traders would get benefit.
He also demanded inclusion of all the notified streets by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in 2021 Master Plan.
The government should make a provision in the Master Plan to create a Special Zone for banned industries in the national Capital.
He said that Delhi Congress also asked the committee that the 41,000 traders, who have submitted affidavits to the court for voluntary closure of their shops, be allowed to carry on with their commercial activities and the streets notified by the MCD for conducting commercial activities be exempted till the new Master Plan comes into being.
“We were given the assurance that the committee will exercise authority with compassion and put forth our appeal before the Supreme Court,” Mr Tytler said.
“We told the panel that the
traders who have submitted affidavits should not be punished for obeying
the court’s directions,” he said.
Sealing drive: SC extends
date for affidavits
The court modified its September 29 order by which the traders, who were covered under the September seven and 15 notifications, were directed to give an undertaking before the monitoring committee by November 10, 2006.
The court had made operational the notifications subject to the outcome of their validity, pursuant to which the traders had to file affidavits.
However, 44,000 traders who had filed affidavits giving an undertaking to stop the misuse of the premises failed to get any relief.
The Court in its September 29 order had said they will have to stop the misuse by October 31.
"We are not here to review that order. It is a closed chapter," the court, hearing an affidavit filed by the Centre for a modification of its earlier order, said.
A bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal also clarified that its September 29 order restraining the issuance of notification was not in respect of Master Plan for Delhi 2021.
No sealing in Delhi till
Oct 31: SC
A Bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal said the traders, who are getting relief by way of two notifications, will have to give an affidavit that they will abide by the final outcome on the validity of the notifications.
The Court said those traders, who had earlier filed an affidavit giving an undertaking that they will shift the commercial activities from residential areas, were exempted from the sealing drive till October 31 in view of the Dusshera and Diwali festivals.
The sealing will continue after October 31 against 50,000 traders who had given an undertaking that they will abide by the Court order to shift commercial establishments from residential areas.
The Court said that 22 categories of small traders will be completely exempted from the sealing drive and they will have to register themselves with the authorities by December 31. The Court said that the Government will not issue any further notification on the matter without its leave.
It said the owners of the premises can approach the Monitoring Committee with their applications and it will make recommendations to the Court for the reopening of the sealed premises.
The Bench, headed by the
Chief Justice, had on Monday reserved its order after expressing disapproval
over the manner in which notifications were issued to override its orders
on the issue.
SC relief for small shop
This became apparent at the hearing on Monday before a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal. The court reiterated its view, expressed in its February 16 judgment, that small shops could operate in residential areas as they met daily needs of residents.
Acting on the February 16 order, the apex court-appointed monitoring committee, comprising Bhure Lal, K J Rao and S P Jhingon, gave a list of 19 trading activities that could be permitted to continue in residential localities, provided shops did not exceed 20 square metres in size.
After conducting a survey of 185 roads having a width of 80 ft and more, the committee has come to the conclusion that a small shop may be defined as one measuring not more than 20 sq m dealing with following items of daily needs of the residents: Vegetables/fruits/flowers; bakery/confectionery items; kirana/general stores; dairy products; stationery/books/gifts; book binding/photostat/fax/PCOs; cyber cafe/cellphone shops, LPG booking offices and showrooms without cylinder storing facility; atta chakkis; meat, poultry and fish shops, barber/hairdressing saloons/beauty parlours, drycleaning/laundry/ironing; sweet shops/tea stalls without seating facility; chemist shops selling medicines; optical shops; tailoring shops; electrical/electronic repair shops and photo studios.
Amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar,
who is assisting the Supreme Court on the sealing matter, informed the
Bench that the
The committee also recommended
that shops in each zone should be identified and registered by MCD, which
should allot a serial number to them
Congress will stand by
Addressing a press conference, Mr. Sharma assured the Capital's traders and the agitating citizens that the Congress was with them in this hour of crisis and everything possible would be done to provide them relief from the current phase of demolitions and sealing.
Welcoming the statement of Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy that if need be a special session of Parliament would be convened to sort out the issue, Mr. Sharma said it was unfortunate that the BJP was trying to derive political mileage out of this.
"What is even more shocking is that despite being in power for six years, the NDA regime did nothing to sort out the issues facing the people of Delhi. In fact, the NDA is responsible for creating such a situation and leading the people of Delhi to such a phase of uncertainty. Had they taken corrective steps during their rule, things would have been different."
Lashing out at the BJP, Mr. Sharma said the party was adopting a contradictory stand as its former Union Urban Development Minister Jagmohan was backing the sealing and demolitions while the party was making different noises. "If the BJP is really sincere about getting relief for the traders, then it should first take action against Mr. Jagmohan for speaking against them."
Stating it was the Congress that had done its best to provide relief to the people, Mr. Sharma said the Union Urban Development Ministry had brought out two notifications and legislation on the issue but they were under judicial scrutiny hampering the process of implementation.
At the same time, Mr. Sharma assured that all the recommendations of the Tejinder Khanna Committee would be implemented and relief would certainly flow to all sections of society. He also pointed out that the latest notification of the Union Urban Development Ministry giving relief to residential plotted development would benefit the lower strata of the society as well as the middle class.
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan demanded that the Master Plan for Delhi-2021 be brought out immediately and implemented without any further delay so that lakhs of people are provided relief.
In a statement, Dr. Vardhan
charged Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit with promoting the shopping mall
culture by maintaining during the last few months that sealing and demolitions
were fine and taking place under the orders of the court. He said an amnesty
plan should be formulated and placed before Parliament so that it is passed
with the consent of all the parties.
will go to SC today
over Delhi sealing drive
The GoM will meet again on September 25 when the Supreme Court, which has taken a tough line against illegal structures, takes up hearing on the sealing of structures that do not conform to the Delhi Master Plan 2001.
The GoM — headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, it includes Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy (he was in Mumbai and was represented by deputy Ajay Maken), Law Minister H R Bhardwaj, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, Social Justice & Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar — decided to reach out to people through the Internet and to traders and affected shopkeepers.
The GoM did not discuss any special Parliament session to discuss any legislation to get past court orders.
Earlier, at the Cabinet meeting, the violence in Seelampur was discussed with Kamal Nath making the point that the Government needs to act quickly since police firing in Delhi sends out a very negative signal. Backing him were Sibal and Bhardwaj who favoured the more proactive approach of reaching out to the public and explaining the issue threadbare.
It was then that an equally concerned Prime Minister decided to constitute a GoM. At the GoM meeting, Meira Kumar spoke of taking the Resident Welfare Associations into confidence but Home Secretary Vinod Duggal pointed out that no step should be taken that could be interpreted as confronting the court.
At the GoM meeting, the entire controversy was explained to the Cabinet Ministers, Delhi Lt Governor B L Joshi and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. The GoM was told that while a large number of structures were unauthorized under the Delhi Master Plan 2001, those under the September 7 notification would be deemed to be in conformity under the amended Plan.
Maintaining that the notification
issued by the Government was a “legal and valid piece of legislation,”
Sibal said the Centre would approach the court, explain its position and
hope that the court takes “a reasonable view” of the situation. “Considering
the enormity of the situation, we are sure that the court will take a reasonable
view of the matter,” he said, adding any final decision on what the “Government
should do or can do” on the issue will be taken only after the outcome
of the court hearing.
The day after, an air
of uneasy calm
Sources said that the police first appealed to the family members of the deceased not to take the bodies home as this could escalate tension in the area. But they ignored the appeal, saying that some religious rituals were necessary before the burial of the bodies.
Ms Sayeeda, mother of Ashraf (15), one of the victims, said that the body of her son was handed over to her only after she kept pleading to local police officials.
In the beginning, she was told that some legal procedures were to be completed before handing over the body. However, the body was handed over after the intervention of some “influential people” of the area, she claimed.
She said, “My son was innocent. He was a student of class VI in Government Boys Senior Secondary School in Seelampur. After returning from his school at 2 pm, he had gone outside to see the scene of traders’ bandh.”
He was taken to GTB Hospital in a police vehicle after being shot and died at 7 pm. Ms Sayeeda alleged that her son could have been saved if proper medical attention had been given to him. “He was not operated upon. We are poor people. If we had been rich, the doctors would have saved my child,” she said.
Ms Sayeeda and other eye-witnesses claimed that the police fired directly at the victims. A number of bullet marks could be seen on the walls of their houses, they said.
The main market of Seelampur was closed today in protest against the police “brutality”.
The local residents also
alleged that the police dragged ‘innocent’ people out of their homes at
night and arrested them on charges of rioting. They claimed that those
who bribed the police were released, while others were put behind the bar.
Sixty eight people have been sent to judicial remand in this connection.
SC takes exception to
notifications on mixed land use
The bench said it was evident that the intention was to override the August 20 order of the court as it was very clear that the sealing would continue from September 16 but the government came out with a notification a day before it.
The court fixed September 25 to hear the matter relating to the sealing drive.
Though the matter was not
listed for hearing today, an application was mentioned by senior Advocate
Mukul Rastogi, who appeared for some traders whose establishments were
sealed in the ongoing MCD drive against illegal commercial activities in
Delhi Sealing drive
Traffic was disrupted in many areas as the residents and traders jointly protested against the action of the MCD officials who, they allege, were equally responsible for first allowing commercial activity in residential colonies.
The MCD squads, accompanied by a huge security force, this morning began sealing commercial units in areas coming under the South zone, Nazafgarh zone, Civil Lines, Central zone and Karol Bagh zone. A spokesperson of the MCD said the sealing action was being carried out in East of Kailash, Kailash Hills and Zamrudpur areas in the South zone and Nazafgarh, Sant Nagar area of Karol Bagh, Civil Lines areas and many areas falling under the Central zone.
Shops in residential areas that violate the rules in six civic zones are being targetted and the stores that sell building materials and liquor vendors will also be razed.
However, the violators in categories A and B that include showrooms, schools, banks, nursing homes and guest houses will be spared. MCD teams will initially target the shops selling hazardous printing, dyeing materials, junk shops and polluting units in residential areas.
The MCD officials are expected to meet the Monitoring Committee appointed by the Apex Court to work out the details of the sealing drive in categories A and B, under which 70 posh localities of the Capital fall. The shops located on 80-feet wide roads in residential areas will be targetted from September 16.
Meanwhile, the trading community today began a three-day dharna against the sealing drive at Jantar Mantar here. Members of the CAIT and their families will join in the dharna and go on a hunger strike on Sunday.
The Supreme Court recently stayed some parts of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006, promulgated by the Centre to put a one-year moratorium on the sealing and demolition action in the national Capital.
Thereafter, on August 18, the Urban Development Ministry withdrew exemption granted under the Act to certain categories, following which the MCD announced its decision to begin sealing of these units from September 1.
However, in case of banquet halls situated in the residential areas, sealing will resume from September 8. The August 31 deadline for closure of banquet halls was on Wednesday extended to September 6 after a number of representations received by the MCD as well as the Monitoring Committee highlighting difficulties in arranging the alternative sites for marriages and other functions at such a short notice.
On Thursday, MCD Commissioner A K Nigam appeared in person before the High Court and informed that an ‘Integrated Task Force’ had been set up by the civic body to detect, demolish and seal all encroachments and illegal constructions. The demolition drive that resumed today has cast a shadow of fear on hundreds of private unaided schools that are facing the prospects of being closed down, thereby jeopardising the career of lakhs of students enrolled in these schools.
The Central government had on May 20 passed the Delhi Laws (Special Provision) Act that put a moratorium on the court-mandated demolition of illegal structures and sealing of commercial complexes in residential areas in the Capital for a year.
Traders move Supreme Court
Petitioner Federation has also prayed to the court to order the authority not to remove unauthorised constructions in the city as large-scale sealing and demolition shall cause hardships to people and it will also lead to large-scale unemployment in the national Capital.
The petition, which shall come up for hearing on September 8, has also requested the court to take into account the overall impact of such a “drastic” course of action which has rendered the citizens of Delhi not only jobless but also homeless.
The MCD and DDA are resuming their sealing and demolition drive from today. As a result, hundreds of private unaided schools of Delhi are also facing the prospects of being closed down jeopardising the career of lakhs of students in these schools.
All the nursing homes operating from the premises of less than 200 square yards are also likely to be closed down. All unauthorised constructions and encroachments on public land are also to be removed.
The court ordered re-sealing drive is to be resumed from September 16.
The government had enacted Delhi Laws (special provisions) Act 2006, to put off sealing and demolition for one year which is under challenge in the Supreme Court.
The Federation has also contended that the closure of shops catering to the day-to-day requirements of the residents shall also cause untold hardships to the citizens who will have to cover long distances to buy the articles of their daily requirements.
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