With traders aggrieved over the ongoing sealing drive in the national capital, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Saturday released a statement stating the reason for the sealing action in Lajpat Nagar market in which 350 shops were shut due to illegal encroachment.
Thousands of shops have been sealed by the municipal corporation since December last year, citing the orders of the ‘Supreme Court Appointed Monitoring Committee. “The committee carried out an inspection of old double storey, Lajpat Nagar-IV (popularly known as Suit Market) and its vicinity on March 6 and noticed large scale encroachments by the occupants both in front as well as in the back,” the civic body’s statement said.
It said the double storey was developed and constructed by land and Development Office (L&DO) of Ministry of Rehabilitation, Government of India, in the fifties and allotted to displaced persons after Partition.
“The ownership of the land vests with L&DO. As per the layout plan of Lajpat Nagar-IV, right of way of road between the blocks is 36 feet. The total space between blocks is 60 feet and the common space in front of each of these Block is 12 feet which is L&DO land,” the statement read.
It also said the common space which was actually meant for the movement of pedestrians and various other community services has been encroached on by the occupants to the extent of 12 feet in front and approximately 30 feet in the rear. “Large scale alterations/additions have been made by way of permanent and semi-permanent structures in flagrant violation of law and usurping invaluable public land.
The occupants have even constructed unauthorisedly up to four floors,” the statement said, adding that since the encroachments were extending up to four floors and are huge in nature, it was not possible for the enforcement team to remove the structures from public land. Therefore, on the directions of the Monitoring Committee, the properties were sealed.
The business establishments that have been on the radar of the empowered committee for a number of reasons, including unauthorised construction of offices and rooms at different floors and ongoing commercial activities at basement and stilt parking areas, non-payment of conversion charges and encroachment.