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Sealing of shops to resume today

Sandeep Joshi

Will not allow it under any circumstances, say traders in Delhi


  • Shops identified, work likely to begin in south Delhi
  • Traders clash with police; schools closed



    OVER TO THE STREET: Traders block a road during a bandh in New Delhi on Tuesday following the Supreme Court's rejection of their demand for stopping the sealing of shops. — Photo: Sandeep Saxena

    NEW DELHI: Even as traders in the capital organised a "Delhi bandh" on Tuesday, the Supreme Court-appointed three-member Monitoring Committee directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to resume its sealing drive on Wednesday.

    Committee member K.J. Rao announced this after deliberations with Municipal Commissioner A.K. Nigam and Police Commissioner K.K. Paul. He, however, refused to give any details of the exercise to seal illegal commercial establishments.

    MCD sources said the sealing squads would first focus on the traders who had filed affidavits promising to close down their shops. Though some of these 44,000-odd traders, whose premises are situated along 185 roads 80 feet or more in width, have been given relief by the Government's notifications, a majority would face action.

    MCD carries out survey

    After instructions from the Monitoring Committee, the MCD has carried out a survey and identified the establishments it would target.

    The Committee has withdrawn discretionary powers from the MCD. It has armed itself with data on the illegal establishments, and would now give directions to the MCD daily on which shops to seal.

    In view of the law and order situation, sealing might be carried out at a slow pace in the first couple of days. It is expected to start from south Delhi and cover one road at a time. Initially, one or two squads, accompanied by security forces, would carry out the drive.

    The next targets could be shops in the posh `A' and `B' category colonies, where no commercial activities are allowed. As no survey or identification of illegal shops is required there, the sealing exercise is expected be an easy affair in these colonies, most of which are in south Delhi.

    The bandh saw traders taking to the streets. All major markets, barring those in the New Delhi Municipal Council area, downed shutters. All schools were closed on government orders.

    The police arrested over 200 people and detained over 500 traders and political activists for breaching the peace.

    Incidents of sporadic violence were reported from Vikas Marg and Jail Road, where protesters clashed with the police and damaged some vehicles. Agitating traders also blocked roads at several places in east, west and south Delhi. Heavy deployment of police and para-military personnel prevented any major flare-up.

    Protests to continue

    The traders have decided to continue their protests on Wednesday. "We will not allow sealing to happen under any circumstances. We will form teams that will visit areas where sealing is being carried out and physically stop the exercise. We are not going to surrender in any way. We cannot allow our family members and employees to starve to death," said Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary, Confederation of All-India Traders.

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