Traders down shutters against sealing drive

New Delhi, March 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
Traders in the Capital on Thursday went on a 48-hour strike, closing down almost all major markets in the city, to protest sealing of shops operating in residential areas, even as the MCD continued its drive for the second day.

Responding to the shutdown call given by trade bodies, shops in Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Lajpat Nagar, South Extension, Moti Nagar, Patel Nagar, Rajendra Nagar, Naraina, Rohini, Pitampura, Paharganj, Green Park and Shahdara downed their shutters, traders claimed.

Markets in Nehru Place, Hauz Khas, Uttam Nagar, Mayur Vihar, Gandhi Nagar and Patparganj were also affected to some extent, while shops in Connaught Place and Chandni Chowk were open, as both the market associations are not participating in the strike.

Traders said the 48-hour strike was just a warning and if the government is not taking note of their legitimate grievances, they will intensify their agitation in the coming days.

Our demands are that the basement area of buildings should be allowed to be used as godowns, offices should be permitted to function in first, second and third floors and the MCD should take traders into confidence before taking any decision, general secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Praveen Khandelwal said.

He also asked the MCD to notify the remaining 71 of the total 189 roads in residential areas identified by the civic body for mixed land use purpose. In a major relief for traders, the urban development ministry had on Tuesday allowed commercial activities on the ground floor of multi-storeyed buildings in 118 roads in residential areas of the Capital.

Meanwhile, MCD continued sealing of shops and offices functioning in residential areas in 11 out of the 12 zones for the second day, despite stiff protests from the trading community.

We have begun the drive, but its progress would depend on the availability of adequate police protection, an MCD spokesperson said here.

Acting on a Supreme Court order, the MCD had on Wednesday sealed 69 commercial establishments in six zones, but could not take action in other zones as adequate police force was not made available.