Markets in the national capital reopened on Sunday after a two-day strike by thousands of commercial establishments protesting against the recent sealing drive by the Municipal Corporations of Delhi. The shutdown had been called by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). “After two days of Delhi Trade Bandh called by CAIT against sealing, the markets in Delhi opened today restoring the business activities to normal trade though markets observing Sunday as weekly holiday remained closed,” the traders’ association said in a release here. “The proposals of DDA (Delhi Development Authority) for amendment in Master Plan 2021 are very confusing since every proposal contain certain riders and conditions which are difficult to follow and as such the basic object of bringing proposals to provide relief to traders from sealing will be highly defeated, according to prominent traders,” it said.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said it appeared that the DDA proposals were drafted “in great haste without considering its compliance obligations and impact”. “It will be more appropriate if the central government suspends the sealing, by bringing a law in the Parliament, for at least six months, and during this period after having a detailed and thoughtful study, the proposals to amend the Master Plan should be drafted to give relief from sealing,” he said in the statement. CAIT on Saturday said it has sent a “traders’ charter” to the government suggesting that it take necessary steps to mitigate traders’ problems on account of the sealing drive.
“Though appreciating the proposals mooted by DDA for amending the Master Plan to bring relief to traders from sealing, the CAIT has sent a 12 point traders’ charter to Hardeep Puri, Union Minister for Urban Development, urging him to take necessary steps to mitigate the problems of the traders on account of sealing,” it said. On Friday, the DDA approved changes to the city’s Master Plan — in a move to provide relief to traders hit by the sealing drive — on a day lakhs of traders pulled down their shutters to protest against the sealing.
The sealing drive was being carried out against business establishments using residential areas for commercial purposes without paying conversion charges. DDA’s proposed amendments to the Master Plan include increasing Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of local shopping complexes from existing 180 per cent to 300 per cent and regularising agricultural warehouses on 12 metre wide roads. Though the DDA has approved the proposed amendments, the traders continued with their shutdown on Saturday.
According to the CAIT, the charter sent to the government includes among other steps keeping status quo in special areas till the time its redevelopment plan is prepared and implemented. “The plot size in LSCs should be increased from 175 metres to 250 metres,” the traders’ body urged the government. “While regularising and enhancing the FAR, the condition of parking availability should be withdrawn, three colonies – Greater Kailash, Green Park and South Extension – developed by DLF should be enlisted on the list of rehabilitation colonies developed by DLF,” the statement added. CAIT also urged that commercial use of basements should be allowed uniformly in any street and the limit of paying conversion charges should be fixed for 10 years.