Dangling sword of sealing in Delhi keeps many anxious (Lead)

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) The sword of sealing keeps dangling on lakhs of premises in Delhi over their alleged illegal use for commercial purposes in residential areas, because of which there is continued anxiety and uncertainty among the affected people.

The issue has major political implications as the livelihood of millions is linked to the sealing drive ordered by a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee.

With the Delhi Development Authority planning to unveil the Master Plan for Delhi 2041 for public scrutiny and feedback, there are expectations that it would bring some clarity on the use of premises for commercial purposes.

Traders in Delhi have recently called for a campaign against the sealing drive, terming it absolutely arbitrary.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), reportedly said in a statement, that the monitoring committee was behaving in an arbitrary manner and was not accepting the amendments made to the Master Plan of Delhi by the Centre.

Rajiv Kakria, Convenor Save our City campaign, said , "There was no clarity on mixed land use in master plan 2021. Hundreds of amendments have been made since its roll out, many are pending before the courts specifically in connection with commercial activities in residential areas. This technically means if MPD 2021 is not cleared by the top, why would DDA roll out another master plan."

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) recently moved the top court to de-seal some of the properties, citing fulfilment of norms under the Master Plan 2021, amended and notified by the Centre in June 2018.

According to a source in SDMC, due to pendency of matters in court, traders end up suffering despite amendments in the master plan as municipal authorities are bound to comply with court orders.

Puneet Sharma, advocate-on-record in Supreme Court , said, "the master plan 2041 should detail out clarity on mixed land use, and shield it as much as possible from legal scrutiny. Currently, basement (of a premises) is allowed for storage activities, the MPD 2041 should allow commercial activities in the basement in addition to storage."

Nearly 6,000 shops have been sealed so far due to the ongoing sealing drive in the city. During and after the general election the pace of the sealing drive has been reduced, but it is still on going . Many basements in Green Park and Defence Colony have already sealed as they found carrying out commercial activities.

Praveen Khandelwal Secretary General Confederation of Indian Traders said that there is a lot of confusion regarding commercial activities in residential areas. "Delhi master plan 2041 should be meant for modern Delhi. Courts intervention should be limited, and traders should get a clear cut off date regarding the status of their properties. For example, properties operation before December 2018 should not be brought under legal scrutiny", added Khandelwal.

--IANS

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