MCD Seals 50 Shops at Def Col, Other Delhi Markets Under Radar

The MCD on Friday, 22 December, shut all stores and eateries that have extended beyond the first floor.

Updated
India
2 min read
The defence Colony in south Delhi wore a deserted look as many shops were shut.
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Several shops were sealed shut in Defence Colony market, better known as ‘Def Col’, one of south Delhi’s popular haunts.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi on Friday, 22 December, shut all stores and eateries that extended beyond the first floor. The extension of the floors, the officials said, was illegal as the business owners had not paid the conversion charge.

Municipal officials were acting under orders of a Supreme Court committee to crackdown on illegal constructions in the capital.

At least 50 shops and restaurants were sealed till 5pm, Hindustan Times reported, including 4S and Moets.

A disgruntled shop owner told HT:

I had paid around Rs 55 lakh as conversion charge in 2006. Later, I paid mutation charges. I pay commercial taxes regularly. I have all documents. Despite that, my restaurant was sealed.

Rahil Bindra, in-charge of Moets restaurant, told Outlook that it was a temporary sealing drive. “There will be retaliation from shop owners, so we are expecting it to be over soon."

“There was no intimation about sealing action, but there are markets such as Model Town II, Rani Bagh, Adarsh Nagar and Kohat Enclave where ‘misuse’ of residential establishments has been found. Also, shopkeepers have not paid conversion charges,” a North Delhi Municipal Corporation spokesperson told Hindustan Times.

The establishments were allegedly handed closure notices nearly four months ago, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Hauz Khas, Ramchandra M Shingare, told the newspaper.

A panel set up by the apex court in 2006 had initiated a similar drive in areas like GK and South Extension. Many commercial outlets are still operating in South Extension, Green Park, and Greater Kailash markets, said a statement issued by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Friday.

Does Law Offer Immunity to Establishments?

Restaurants and other businesses were sealed under Section 33A of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Section 31A of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981.

The Union government introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha, proposing to extend the deadline of the law which laid down that slums and unauthorised constructions in Delhi will be subject to punitive action if not cleared by 31 December. However, SDMC officials said that the provisions were irrelevant to the ongoing sealing drive.

“The law offers immunity to establishments operating from residential premises if they fall in the areas demarcated for commercial and mixed land use under the amended Master Plan, 2021. This immunity applies on properties that came up before 2007. The immunity deadline is often misinterpreted. The 2014 deadline exemption from sealing and demolition applies only in the case of properties that fall in unauthorised colonies and abadi villages,” a municipal official clarified to Hindustan Times.

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