Major markets in south Delhi will remain closed on Friday to protest the municipal corporation’s sealing drive, The Times of India reported on Thursday. The markets which will remain shut include those at Defence Colony, Hauz Khas, Green Park Extension, South Extension I and II and Greater Kailash I and II.
“We are protesting against the sealing drive because despite paying conversion charges, making payment to get additional floor area ratio approved, our properties are being sealed,” Defence Colony Traders Association President Rajender Malik told The Indian Express. “The whole of Delhi has encroachments and we are ready to pay a fine, but instead of providing a solution, our businesses are being made to suffer.”
Officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had on December 22 shut down several shops and restaurants in south Delhi’s Defence Colony Market for allegedly unauthorised constructions in their premises. The action was taken based on the direction of the Supreme Court, which had appointed a committee in 2006 for the purpose.
On Thursday, municipal officials sealed two establishments in Rohini, 18 in Karol Bagh, 34 in Civil Lines and 33 in the City-Sadar Paharganj zone, an unidentified spokesperson for the North Delhi Municipal Corporation said.
“We will keep our shops closed and hold a peaceful protest around 11 am,” Anil Aggarwal, a member of the Defence Colony Traders Association said on Friday. “We want to send the message that we have been doing our business peacefully. We pay our taxes and if the authorities think we have not followed rules, they can sit with us and tell us what needs to be done.”
But the general secretary of Hauz Khas E-Block market, Manmohan Singh, told The Times of India that the market was yet to decide whether to join the shutdown. “We haven’t faced any major problems as yet,” he added.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shikha Rai, who is the leader of the House in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, told The Indian Express that there was a lot of ambiguity in the manner in which the Supreme Court’s monitoring committee functioned. She said her party would approach the court to get the sealing stopped.