Sealing in Delhi Must Continue. Govt Must Not Break the Law

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) holding a demonstration against the sealing drive in Delhi. Photo: AAP
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) holding a demonstration against the sealing drive in Delhi. Photo: AAP

With their protests, traders as well as political parties are trying to force Lt. Governor (LG) of Delhi Anil Baijal to break the law and authorize illegal constructions in Delhi.

By Rakesh Raman

Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari said Friday that traders of Delhi can soon expect relief from ongoing sealing of their shops as Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has agreed to change the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD)-2021 and Building Byelaws.

Tiwari has appealed to the monitoring committee to suspend sealing in view of the amendments to Master Plan and Building Byelaws proposed by DDA.

Tiwari hopes that after these amendments which are likely to get effective in the next few days the cause of sealing in almost all cases will cease to exist. He expects that now the monitoring committee should act with humanitarian approach to suspend sealing.

Currently, the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs), which are controlled by BJP, are carrying out sealings under the directions of the Supreme Court of India. A Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee is closing the shops that have done unauthorized constructions.

[ Report Corruption in Delhi Housing Societies to Clean House ]

As sealing has become a hot potato, the traders in Delhi are observing a two-day bandh on Friday and Saturday. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) – an industry body comprising multiple trader associations – has given the bandh call in which nearly 700,000 traders are expected to participate.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), BJP, and Congress are also supporting traders because the traders’ community is a large vote bank for all political parties.

With their protests, traders as well as political parties are trying to force Lt. Governor (LG) of Delhi Anil Baijal to break the law and authorize illegal constructions in Delhi.

However, Baijal said that “all possible solutions are being explored to overcome the sealing crisis, keeping in view the judicial pronouncements on the subject and extant laws.”

[ Why Delhi LG Must Not Stop the Sealing of Shops ]

The illegal construction is not only happening in shops but it is also being carried out by corrupt managing commitees (MCs) of cooperative group housing societies.

The Kejriwal government, LG office, MCDs, and DDA are playing hand in glove with the corrupt MC members of housing societies and allowing illegal construction under a dubious floor area ratio (FAR) scheme.

“The so-called relief by DDA for which both the AAP and BJP are claiming credit is nothing else but ‘extortion’ by the governments. Concessions already in MPD-2021 and MPD-1962 are being re-packaged with charges which are unjustified,” Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said Friday.

Tiwari said that it is really sad that Delhi’s ruling party AAP and nonexistent Congress both are trying to mislead traders on sealing issue.

“We understand AAP’s frustration as in sealing it saw an opportunity of political fortune but the reported contradictory voices of former Congress chief minister Sheila Dixit and Ajay Maken on amendments to Master Plan are too shocking,” Tiwari said. “It seems for both AAP and Congress, the sealing issue is nothing more than an opportunity to gain a few votes.”

The fact is that all political parties are trying to exploit the sealing issue to gain political advantage. But, in the process, they are trying to break the law by demanding legalization of the illegal activity of local traders who have done unauthorized constructions. Government must not succumb and continue its sealing drive in Delhi.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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Rakesh Raman