Thursday 30 June 2022
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Traders’ lobby to demonstrate across Delhi on 3 Jan against sealing, ignoring rampant nuisance by shopkeepers

The traders' lobby, however, hardly deserves public sympathy as the Supreme Court had observed that Delhi was facing 'severe problems' due to unauthorised construction and encroachment. Earlier, the apex court had also blasted authorities for 'sleeping' or 'keeping their eyes closed'

New Delhi: An umbrella body of traders from across the country Wednesday announced a city-wide agitation in Delhi on January 3, seeking relief from the ongoing sealing drive.

The decision was taken by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) at a meeting here, which was attended by “trade leaders of more than 75 prominent trade associations of Delhi”, the CAIT said.

“Traders of Delhi are highly perturbed with the ongoing sealing in Delhi, and have now decided to launch a city-wide big agitation, seeking relief from sealing,” CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said.

The agitation on January 3 will begin with a dharna by city-based traders, he said. Khandelwal said the CAIT has prepared a charter for the agitation which, seeks de-sealing of shops that have been sealed and to stop any further sealing drive in Delhi. He reiterated that the Union government should either bring legislation in this regard in the current session of Parliament or an ordinance immediately after the session.

Are the traders right?

The traders’ lobby, however, hardly deserves public sympathy. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had observed that Delhi is facing “severe problems” due to unauthorised construction and encroachment, which can be gauged from the fact that the special task force (STF) has already cleared as much as 2.8 million sqm of such area.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur was informed that the STF, constituted in April following the apex court’s order to oversee enforcement of laws on illegal construction and monitor the removal of encroachments here, has also cleared about 3,202 sq mt of roads, streets and footpaths.

In November, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) after the committee submitted a report based on “hearsay” without verification on illegal denting and painting shops and burning of tyres in northeast Delhi.

In September, the apex court had said that, after action against encroachments on forest land, stilt parking and cases of conversion charge violation, the monitoring committee appointed by the court would focus on illegal structures on water bodies.

According to a survey by the Delhi Parks and Gardens Society in 2014, of the 611 water bodies listed in Delhi, 274 dried up and 190 cannot be revived. The reasons range from sewage to encroachments to concretisation, out of which the second and third factors are creations of unethical businesses.

In July, the Supreme Court had blasted the authorities for letting rampant illegal constructions and encroachments to go on in Delhi and asked whether the officers were “sleeping” or “keeping their eyes closed”.

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