The traders' body criticised the Delhi government for being a "mute spectator" to the issue of sealing and questioned the government's apathy towards the trading community in Delhi.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Monday demanded immediate dissolution of the Monitoring Committee on sealing and said that if appropriate action is not taken then they will have to shift their base to other neighbouring states. The CAIT said it will seek an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and the Lt Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal. The monitoring committee is overreaching its jurisdiction, the traders alleged.
The traders’ body criticised the Delhi government for being a “mute spectator” to the issue of sealing and questioned the government’s apathy towards the trading community in Delhi. “Delhi trade has suffered greatly from sealing actions in last more than 13 years and the government has not taken immediate steps for its remedies. Delhi traders will be forced to flee to other neighbouring states for conducting their business activities which will result in a huge loss of revenue to Delhi government,” CAIT General Secretary, Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement.
The traders further threatened that if needed, they will field their own candidates in the upcoming Delhi assembly elections. “If situation warrants the traders will not lag behind in fielding their own candidates in Assembly elections and will ensure strong defeat of candidates of all such political parties,” Khandelwal said.
The CAIT members demanded that the Centre announce an Amnesty Scheme to “protect Delhi trade from sealing”. Under such a scheme, the business premises as on December 31, 2018, should be allowed to run on as is where is basis, they proposed, adding that the traders are agreed to give a reasonable penalty for their regularisation.
Raising questions on the working of the Monitoring Committee, the association said it will urge them to seek its dissolution from Supreme Court. “Even after making necessary amendments by the Central Government in the Master Plan, the monitoring committee is not giving benefits of the amendments and no shop has been de-sealed though covered under amendments,” they said.
The sealing drive was initiated in December 2017 at the instance of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee after the apex court expressed concern over illegal construction in the national capital. It became a political issue in Lok Sabha elections 2019 when both the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress promised to end the drive undertaken by the BJP-led municipal corporations on the directions of a Supreme Court-appointed committee. The BJP had alleged that the Master Plan of Delhi 2021, prepared by the urban development ministry during Congress’ regime has several loopholes.