Written byGogona Saikia
Traders in Delhi have launched another bandh to protest the ongoing sealing drive in the capital.
According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), more than 7L traders from 2,500 associations would participate.
Thus all major wholesale and retail markets including Chandni Chowk, Lajpat Nagar, Connaught Place, Khan Market, Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazaar, Kamla Nagar and Azadpur are likely to remain closed.
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, the urban development ministry complained 40L people would lose their jobs.
Traders have also alleged that businesses are being sealed despite having paid all levies.
After much criticism, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) finally provided some relief to traders.
It passed three amendments to the Master Plan 2021, increasing floor area ratios (FAR), reducing conversion charges and regularizing agricultural godowns.
Despite that, the CAIT launched an all-Delhi shutdown on February 2-3 to protest the drive.
It estimated a loss of Rs. 3,600cr due to the strike.
Today, CAIT is holding a 'vyapaari panchayat' in Karol Bagh; thousands are expected to participate, said secretary general Praveen Khandelwal.
Khandelwal demanded that CM Arvind Kejriwal bring an anti-sealing bill on March 16, the first day of assembly session, and "notify 351 roads for mixed land use."
New Delhi Traders Association President Atul Bhargava wants traders to be given time to rectify alleged violations.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal called an all-party meeting today to discuss the matter, but BJP is going to boycott it. Congress has accepted the invite.
Delhi BJP general secretary Kuljeet Singh Chahal said the meeting was pointless since "intentions of the Delhi government are not clear on the matter."
Sealing has been going on since December, but "government did nothing to remedy the situation," he said.
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