he ongoing sealing drive turned to Meharchand Market in Lodhi Colony on Wednesday with the basements and upper floors of at least 130 shops in the south Delhi market being shut by authorities for violation of municipal laws.
BURHAAN KINU/HTn Around 130 shops in Meharchand Market, Lodhi Colony, were sealed on Wednesday for violation of municipal laws.The sealing drive was carried out at the direction of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee and all three members of panel — KJ Rao, Bhure Lal and Major General (Retd) Som Jhingan — accompanied the municipal teams.
The shops that were targeted on Wednesday included boutiques, clothing stores and eateries. Some of the establishments that were partially sealed included Nicobar, Subway, Cafe Coffee Day, Artesenia, Truefill & Hill Salon, Diva Spiced, Liquid Sanctuary, Fab India and Ruh. The State Bank of India and Dena Bank branches, both located in the market, were given few days to wind up their operation.
As many as 135 out of the 153 shops in the market were found in violation of establihed norms. However, the ground floors of all these buildings were spared.
The members of Meharchand Market Association had knocked at the doors of the Supreme Court for relief on Tuesday but their case was rejected.
SK Singh, deputy commissioner of south corporation, confirmed that the municipality conducted the sealing drive on the directions of the monitoring committee. “The monitoring committee even held a meeting with the shop owners a week ago and asked them to discontinue commercial activity on the first-floor and in basements. They were given a week’s time but shopkeepers didn’t obey the directions. We had no option but to seal these properties,” he said.
The south corporation teams didn’t face resistance from traders during the sealing on Wednesday. Himanshi Pujiyar, an employee at Ruh- women’s clothing store, said that they had prior intimation about the sealing drive.
“Though the dates were not confirmed but we were told about that sealing action would likely to take place this week,” she said.
Radha Yadav, an employee at Soma Store, said, “Our basement and first-floor were sealed on Wednesday. The owner will now decide the next move.”
Many traders said they were willing to pay the conversion charges if it could lead to desealing. “If the civic agency allows us to run shops on the first-floor and basements, we won’t mind paying the conversion charges. The sealing action has left thousands jobless in market,” said Praveen kumar, member of Meharchand Market association.
Sarabjeet Singh, a shop owner said his second-floor was constructed in 2002 but still it was sealed by the SDMC on Wednesday. “As per the Supreme Court’s direction, properties constructed before 2007 cannot be sealed or demolished. So how could they seal my premises?” he asked.
Madan Lal, Aam Aadmi Party MLA from Kasturba Nagar, where Meharchand market is located, said that party will raise the sealing issue in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.