Why Delhi LG Must Not Stop the Sealing of Shops

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

Delhi LG Anil Baijal must not try to stop the sealing of shops and other commercial establishments because sealing is required to check illegal constructions in the city.

By Rakesh Raman

As the sealing issue in Delhi stays unresolved, the aggrieved traders have decided to observe a two-day bandh on Friday and Saturday.

All shops and small business establishments will remain closed during the 48-hour protest which is against the sealing drive being conducted by Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD).

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.

Although the Lt. Governor (LG) of Delhi Anil Baijal has assured that some solution will soon evolve, it will be extremely difficult for the LG to stop sealing of shops, as the MCDs are carrying out sealing under the directions of the Supreme Court of India. A Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee is closing the shops that have done unauthorized constructions.

It is largely believed that the Delhi Government headed by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is mainly responsible for the current problem because Kejriwal tried to woo the traders by allowing them unauthorized extension in or around their shops.

[ Report Corruption in Delhi Housing Societies to Clean House ]

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

The Kejriwal government and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) are playing hand in glove with corrupt MC members of housing societies and allowing illegal construction under dubious floor area ratio (FAR) scheme.

But now Kejriwal has washed his hands of the issue and as usual put the blame on LG Baijal who has decided to follow the law. However, the belligerent politicians in Kejriwal’s government are trying to hold LG to ransom and threatening him to break the law.

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.” He also advised Delhi MLAs against making any attempt to trivialize the matter.

Although Baijal has also discussed the matter with Kejriwal, the latter is trying to create an avoidable trouble just to score some political points among the traders who have a strong electoral strength in Delhi.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Delhi BJP has decided to support the traders’ bandh. According to Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), a meeting is scheduled to happen Friday with DDA to find a solution to the problem.

But the LG must not try to stop the sealing of shops and other commercial establishments because sealing is required to check illegal constructions in the city.

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