The New Delhi Municipal Council on Monday sealed the terraces and open spaces of eight major commercial establishments in the city’s Khan Market area, PTI reported.
NDMC’s action comes after a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee asked it to seal commercial spaces in the market for alleged violation of safety procedures and non-payment of one-time user conversion charge at the rate notified by the government. The court set up the panel in 2006 to seal outlets where residential properties were being used for commercial purposes. The committee comprises former advisor to the Election Commission KJ Rao, Bhure Lal, the chairperson of Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority, and Major General (retd) Som Jhingan.
User conversion charges are levied on landowners when a particular plot meant for residential purpose is to be used as a commercial one. “If they have paid [the conversion charge], their shops will not be sealed but unauthorised constructions will be sealed,” SP Jhingon, member of the monitoring committee, told ANI.
Khan Chacha and Smokey’s Grill, salons Geetanjali, Jawed Habib’s salon, Affinity, Amrapali Jewellery store and Ayena Skin Clinic were among the establishments that were sealed on Monday. “Another sealing drive will be conducted tomorrow [Tuesday],” the official added.
Meanwhile, traders associations have claimed that they were not given any prior notice. “A misconception has been created that traders in Khan Market are not paying conversion charges,” Sanjeev Mehra, president of Khan Market Traders’ Association, told PTI. “We are operating in a elite market and believe in abiding by norms. The sealing drive will also impact our image.”
In December, the officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had shut down several shops and restaurants in South Delhi’s Defence Colony Market for allegedly unauthorised constructions in their premises. Restaurants Social, Moets, Aka Saka and 4S were among those shut down.