Delhi traders' body announces 48-hour strike in capital to protest against MCD's sealing drive

All shops in Delhi are likely to remain shut on 2 and 3 February in protest against a sealing drive conducted by the municipal corporations in the national capital. The Confederation Of All India Traders (CAIT), an industry body comprising of the trader associations, announced their decision to call a 48-hour bandh on Saturday, ANI reported.

According to PTI, the industry body will take out a protest march on 2-3 February and hold 'dharna' in their respective markets. "Prior to this, the traders will 'gherao' Delhi MPs and MLAs and will submit their memorandum," it said. The statement said that memoranda would also be given to prominent leaders of all political parties.

This move comes a few days after the industry body observed a day-long 'Delhi trade bandh' on 23 January against the ongoing sealing of business establishments in the national capital. The shutdown decision was taken at a meeting of Delhi traders held at the Constitution Club in the national capital, which was attended by leaders of about 500 trade associations of the city.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to Times of India, the three BJP-ruled municipal corporations in Delhi — North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) — recently launched sealing drives for misuse and unauthorised construction as per the directions of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. However, traders are claiming that some of the shops have been sealed despite paying the conversion and parking charges.

CAIT believes that the sealing is being conducted by "sidelining fundamental provisions" of MCD Act, 1957 "under the guise of an order of the Supreme Court". They demand an investigation as to "why the traders are being deprived of such provisions".

According to News Nation, over seven lakh traders will participate in the bandh and close their shops. The report adds that the protesters will gherao the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MPs and MLAs and submit a memorandum to the Monitoring Committee on Monday.

CAIT alleged that the monitoring committee of the MCD was behaving like a "super administrative authority" that was least bothered about the legality of any premises and more interested in sealing business establishments. "Such an attitude of the Committee is not less than a dictator," Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT, said.

"This is a very sorry state of affairs and time has come for the central government to intervene in such affairs now. The CAIT delegation will meet the home minister, minister of urban development and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi in this regard besides taking the agitation further," the CAIT said.


During the 23 January protests, AAP leader Gopal Rai told the media: "If the BJP and MCDs try to find a way out, it can be done but they want to destroy the businesses." On the other hand, Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari condemned the AAP for trying to "mislead" the traders on the matter. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said, "In the fight between the BJP and the AAP, the traders of Delhi are suffering. Not only the traders but also their workers and the labourers are on the verge of poverty."

CAIT Secretary General Parveen Khandelwal said that the protesting traders are demanding the immediate intervention of the government since the sealing was being conducted in a "dictatorial" manner under the guise of the Supreme Court order. He added that although mushrooming growth of commercial shops was a matter of common knowledge, no action was taken by the MCD to check commercial activity.

The CAIT also demanded the central government bring in a bill in the Parliament to protect Delhi trade and traders from the sealing drive, being carried out by BJP-led MCD.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jan 27, 2018 15:48 PM

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