Delhi Assembly panel to look into sealing of commercial establishments

New Delhi, Jan 16 : A special committee of the Delhi Assembly will look into sealing of commercial establishments in the city by the three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led municipal corporations, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel said here on Tuesday.

Goel referred the matter to the existing nine-member committee headed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator Bhavna Gaur and asked it to submit a report in the next House session.

The sealing drive is being carried out by a Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee against business establishments using residential properties for commercial purposes, and it is being implemented by the three BJP-led municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs).

"I am referring the matter of collection and utilisation of conversion charges and all other related issues for examination and report by the Special Committee on MCDs headed by Bhavna Gaur.

I direct the Commissioners and all other officers of MCDs to depose before the Committee," the Speaker said.

The sealing drive was discussed in the assembly for most of the past two days, with the ruling AAP and the opposition BJP blaming each other for the drive.

The AAP has a brute majority in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma said that many of the AAP MLAs and traders did not have enough knowledge about the drive and that they should be educated about it.

BJP MLA and Opposition Leader Vijender Gupta urged the AAP-led government to notify 351 roads to commercial and mixed-use categories, so that businesses on these stretches were saved from the sealing drive.

Replying to the demand, Public Works Department Minister Satyendar Jain said the municipal corporations would have to submit files for the notification.

Delhi Development Minister Gopal Rai said the sealing drive was happening in Defence Colony, Khan Market and Moti Nagar areas, among others, and the 351 roads did not touch these places.

Jain alleged that the BJP was carrying out the sealing drive for making money and nothing else.

Gaur said that the municipal corporations did not have accounts on the conversation charges to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore collected over the past 10 years -- a claim other AAP MLAs also supported.

He told IANS that the committee had been looking into other matters related to the city corporations.

"Action is being taken against business establishments using residential properties for commercial purposes without paying conversion charges," North Delhi Municipal Corporation spokesperson Yogendra Mann told IANS.

The Monitoring Committee was set up by the Supreme Court in 2006 for sealing the premises of erring businessmen.

But in 2012, the apex court asked the committee to stop the drive.

In December 2017, the Supreme Court ordered resumption of the sealing drive and revived the Monitoring Committee.

The AAP had opposed the committee's revival in the Supreme Court and later accused the municipal corporations of corruption in executing the drive.



Source: IANS