Delhi Assembly passes resolution for stopping sealing drive; Kejriwal seeks ordinance

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New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) The Delhi Assembly on Friday passed a resolution demanding to stop the ongoing sealing drive in the city and also to de-seal already sealed shops, while Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal batted for a bill or an ordinance in the Parliament to maintain status quo for two years.

The sealing drive — being carried out by the three BJP-led city municipal corporations under the guidance of a Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee — is against business establishments using residential properties for commercial purposes and those which have not paid conversion charges.

In his speech during the discussion on the sealing drive, Kejriwal said: “A bill or ordinance should be brought in the Parliament to maintain status quo for two years and make sure no sealing happens. By that time we will resolve the issue. Sealing has to be stopped. The situation is very bad.”

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He said that this would give enough time for different authorities to fix the “complex issue”.

Aam Aadmi Party’s Saurabh Bharadwaj and others also voiced similar views.

Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kejriwal said he had written a letter to Modi, seeking time to discuss the matter but got no reply.

“I wrote to the PM seeking time on sealing issue, but he never responded. It is a two-minute job for him (to solve this crisis),” he said.

Kejriwal accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress for not taking corrective measures in their tenure to fix the issue.

He reiterated that he along with the traders will sit on hunger strike if the issue of sealing drive is not resolved by March 31.

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BJP’s O.P. Sharma said that they will resolve the issue by March 31, while his party colleague Majinder Singh Sirsa put the onus on the Delhi government and said that first, the house should pass a bill against the sealing drive.

He also said that the issue of sealing should be raised in the Supreme Court by top level lawyers.

AAP’s Somnath Bharti said that the BJP was supporting sealing to make way for shops to be set up under Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), an allegation earlier levelled by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The resolution was moved by Bharadwaj and it urged the Central government to take all possible steps, including bringing a new bill or amending existing laws in the ongoing budget session of the Parliament, to halt the sealing drive.

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“Not only are the MCDs (municipal corporations) resorting to sealing of commercial establishments… but Delhi Police has also been unleashed to terrorise innocent traders and their family members which was seen in full force in Amar Colony, Lajpat Nagar recently,” the resolution said.

“Now therefore, this House strongly condemns the use of force and brutalities committed on innocent traders and their families.”

Blaming the BJP-led municipal corporations and the Delhi Development Authority, which is under the Central government, for the sealing drive, the resolution said that the drive was a “direct consequence of the negligence and inefficiency” of both agencies.

The Monitoring Committee was set up by the Supreme Court in 2006. In 2012, the apex court asked the committee to halt the drive. But, in December 2017, it ordered resumption of the drive.



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