Several Delhi markets are facing action for violations of civic and building bylaws. Traders, however allege that authorities have failed to come up with lasting solutions for their changing needs
NEWDELHI: On December 22 last year, as a team of municipal officials accompanied by members of Supreme Court-monitored committee sealed ‘unauthorised’ commercial premises in upscale Defence Colony market, traders across shopping centres of the national Capital were thrown into a tizzy.
According to Arunava Dasgupta, head of urban design at School of Planning and Architecture , “If the planner will not envisage the growth of market in terms of policy and laws, then they will become vulnerable places. If growth is not anticipated and provision for expansion is not created, laws will be violated. A pre-emptive approach is needed to stop this.”
“Take Lajpat Nagar for example which was a small vegetable market with a few groceries. But since it was located along the Ring Road, expansion was inevitable. The problem is authorities failed to anticipate it,” he added.
VK Gautam, director, enforcement, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), said the civic body had found violations and issued notices to shops earlier. “Our enforcement and health team is conducting a fresh survey again, We will ensure that no one flouts norms,” he said.
Last time, sealing was done in Delhi by municipal authorities in 2006, when the SC-appointed panel cracked down on unauthorised constructions. Besides, local and civic authorities keep running drives against the violators. Last week, after the Kamala Mills fire incident in Mumbai, the Council warned traders associations to ensure that the restaurants abide by trade licence conditions, fire safety norms and follow permitted sitting capacity.
The market associations, while acknowledging violations, demanded a foolproof policy with less hassles.
“There are shop owners who violate norms. But the civic authorities should intimate us through notices before taking any action. Also, the conversion rates fixed by DDA are too high and rules should be more clear,” Atul Bhargava, president New Delhi Traders’ Association.
Vijay Arora, of the South Extension Market Association, agreed. “We do not mind paying conversion charges. But there should be uniformity in FAR. For some shops the civic body has approved 300 FAR ,for others it is less,” he said.