The South Delhi Municipal Corporation on Wednesday sealed the basements and first floors of 135 shops at Meharchand Market in Delhi’s Lodhi Colony locality, The Indian Express reported.
Two banks on the premises – State Bank of India and Dena Bank – were given a week to close their operations, an unidentified municipal official told the daily. The civic body took the action on the directions of a panel set up by the Supreme Court in 2006 to seal outlets where residential properties are being used for commercial purposes.
The three-member committee of former Election Commission Adviser KJ Rao, Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority Chairperson Bhure Lal and Major General (Retired) Som Jhingon accompanied the municipal teams as they sealed the shops, the Hindustan Times reported.
The members of the Meharchand Market Association had approached the Supreme Court for relief on Tuesday, but the court rejected their case. The president of the market association, Ashok Sakhuja, said the shop owners had submitted a proposal in 2008 to the civic body to build additional floors, but the municipal corporation did nothing for 10 years. “Yes, we made a mistake by constructing more floors, but this would not have happened if they had not sat on the proposal for 10 years,” Sakhuja claimed.
South Delhi Mayor Kamaljeet Sehrawat said the shop owners knew they were violating the law by constructing extra floors. He, however, said he would look into the “legalities of the case and find out why the proposal has been pending”.
The New Delhi Municipal Council on Monday had sealed the terraces and open spaces of eight major commercial establishments in the city’s Khan Market area for allegedly violating safety procedures and not paying the one-time user conversion charge at the rate notified by the government.