Khan Chacha Among 19 Outlets Sealed in Delhi’s Posh Khan Market
At least 11 establishments in New Delhi’s upscale Khan Market were sealed off in parts on 9 January, bringing the total number of establishments sealed by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (on 8 and 9 January) to 19.
Officials from the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) conducted the sealing drive under the order of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee constituted to identify misuse of land and illegal constructions by establishments.
The establishments whose terraces were sealed off include: Sham Di Hatti, Mamagoto, La Bodega, Raghavendra Rathore, Civil House, Chatter House, and Aquamarine on 9 January. NDTV added that Ritu Kumar Fashion Stores, FabIndia, and The Blue Door Cafe had their terraces sealed on 9 January. The Print added that Parallel - Craft & Kitchen Bar & Anita Dongre was also shut.
Establishments that were sealed in parts on 8 January include restaurants Khan Chacha, Smokey's Grill, Wok in the Clouds, Geetanjali salon, Jawed Habib's salon, Affinity, Ayena Skin Clinic, and Amrapali Jewellery store.
Sealed For Misuse of Terrace
This came a day after four eateries and four salons were sealed on 8 January, in a similar drive by the NDMC.
The sealing notice issued to establishments on 8 January states that parts of the establishments were sealed for an alleged “misuse of terrace”.
A number of establishments in the Khan Market area operate on the floors above the ground floor, often with a shopping establishment on one floor, and an eatery or other restaurant on the first and second floors. Some of these establishments have terrace access.
The sealing order dated 8 January reads that the terraces of establishments being sealed off in parts, are in violation of Section 250 of the NDMC Act. Section 250 authorises the sealing of a property after ordering demolition of, or stoppage of construction work on the property.
The NDMC hasn’t ordered demolition of any of these areas, so, under section 250 which is mentioned in the sealing notice dated 8 January, the other reasons that authorise the sealing of an establishment are if they’ve ordered a “stoppage of construction work.”
The “constructions” are usually water tanks, chairs, or even simple electrical equipment required for daily operations, Anshu Tandon, President, Khan Market Welfare Association, told The Quint.
The NDMC sealing notice adds that is that the terraces are being “misused” used for “commercial purposes.”
There is no commercial activity on the terraces. They have generators and water tanks on the terraces of some establishments. But can they issue an order against an establishment if a customer steps out to the terrace to smoke a cigarette? What if an owner steps out onto the terrace? Do these count as commercial use?Anshu Tandon, President, Khan Market Welfare Association
Lack of Clear Policy to Blame?
Most establishments in Khan Market are residential plots which have been converted for commercial use. The owners of the establishments, the Khan Market Trade and Welfare associations maintain, paid a one-time Use Conversion Charge, which allows the usage of the property for commercial purposes.
However, a number of store and restaurant owners in Khan Market told The Quint that there was no clear policy or commercial plan laid down by the NDMC as far as the usage of terraces.
The NDMC doesn’t have a policy on terraces. For us, if they tell us not to go sit in the terrace, we’re happy to do so. But there’s no policy about how we can use terraces. Can’t we, as owners, step out on the terrace or sit there for a coffee? We would like to have a clear policy, and we’re more than happy to comply.Payal Verma, Owner, The Blue Door Cafe
(With inputs from NDTV, PTI, TOI & Hindustan Times)
(This story has been updated)