South Delhi Municipal Corporation
NEW DELHI: South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Monday desealed 10 residential farmhouses in Vasant Kunj sealed last year on the direction of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. Another property was desealed on Friday evening.
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered desealing of these 11 residential premises that had faced action for allegedly flouting norms but were not used for commercial purposes. The committee “had no power to look into the matter and to take any action” in these cases, the court said, clarifying that checking unauthorised constructions was beyond the jurisdiction of the panel.
The corporation is examining the order to find out if more such properties can be desealed, a senior SDMC official said. On whether the corporation will serve notices to these farmhouses for flouting norms, he said, “After desealing these premises, the engineering department of the zone concerned may take action as per norms but our priority is now to adhere to the court’s directions.”
The 11 properties that were desealed were located at MG Road, Mall Road and Church Road in Vasant Kunj. These were sealed on March 25 and 26, 2019 by the municipal corporation on the direction of the monitoring committee.
The sealing drive started with the action against nine properties in south Delhi’s Chhatarpur on December 17, 2017, which was followed by a similar exercise against 51 units in the Defence Colony market on December 22. Close to 8,000 establishments or properties have been completely or partially sealed for illegal construction or misuse since 2017. These include close to 1,500 traders’ establishments at Defence Colony, Greater Kailash, Hauz Khas, Green Park and other local shopping complexes in south and north Delhi. Despite amendments in the Delhi master plan and the municipal corporations’ guidelines, they are yet to get any relief.
The affected traders of Green Park now plan to move the apex court for desealing of their shops that were totally “commercial”. “Shops in markets such as Defence Colony, Green Park and South Extension were sealed for misuses such as using upper residential floors for commercial purposes without payment of conversion charges. But the master plan doesn’t allow any charge as owners have purchased these properties at prime rates. This area was always commercial,” said Vijay Israni, vice-president of Green Park Market Association. In November 2019, even Delhi Development Authority decided to not take conversion charges from around 100 local shopping centres, said traders.