Delhi sealing: Relief for traders as DDA clears three amendments
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has finally provided some relief to traders from the ongoing sealing drive. It passed three amendments to the Master Plan 2021 - higher floor area ratios (FAR), reduced conversion charges and regularization of agricultural godowns. However, shop owners continued protests against the drive. A two-day bandh called by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) was mostly successful.
In August, an SC-appointed committee directed Delhi municipal bodies to begin sealing commercial structures in unauthorized colonies. Establishments were under the scanner for various civic violations, including non-payment of use conversion charges. The sealing drive finally started in December. However, traders have claimed businesses are being sealed despite having paid all levies. The urban development ministry complained 40L people would lose their jobs.
It has become a crisis for the ruling AAP and BJP in Delhi, which recently lost 20 of its MLAs and is headed for bypolls. AAP has accused the three BJP-ruled civic bodies in the capital of harassing traders. Upon pressure from the local BJP unit, the Center was reportedly mulling relief for traders before this scheduled February 2-3 shutdown.
According to the Master Plan 2021, FAR for local shopping complexes is restricted to 180%, which was today increased to 300%. Penalty for non-payment of conversion charges was reduced to two times from the existing 10 times, and agricultural godowns on 12m-wide roads were regularized. The final decision will be taken after a three-day public hearing, said DDA member Vijendra Gupta.
However, those already sealed won't be reopened unless the SC intervenes. On that note, Delhi traders shut shops and joined CAIT in the two-day shutdown to end tomorrow. Establishments in Old Delhi, South-Ex, Greater Kailash, Defense Colony and elsewhere remained closed, but Nehru Place, which claimed all shops there are authorized, stayed open. CAIT estimates a loss of Rs. 3,600cr due to the strike.