Staff Reporter

With Delhi on high alert, no security force could be made available to the civic body

4,200 illegal shops have been sealed so far500 commercial premises de-sealed Demolition drive also fails to gather momentum

NEW DELHI: With the Delhi police on high alert after two explosions rocked the historic Jama Masjid in the Walled City area of the Capital on Friday, the ongoing drive by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for sealing and demolition of commercial premises in residential areas suffered as no security force could be made available to the civic body on Saturday. As a result, no action was initiated for the second consecutive day, as the sealing drive had remained suspended on Friday also on account of a public holiday.

The sealing and demolition drive failed to gather momentum this entire week as no action could be taken on three days, while only a few hundred illegal shops were sealed on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Moreover, action against unauthorised constructions has also slowed down as the civic body is now concentrating more on the sealing drive. So far, more than 4,200 illegal shops have been sealed while around 500 have been de-sealed after its owners submitted their affidavits pledging to remove their establishments by June 30 this year.

Initially, the sealing squads were targeting around 800 commercial establishments in residential areas every day, but now this has come down to almost 400.

This despite the fact that traders are no longer staging strong protests against the sealing drive whereas in the first week of the ongoing drive, they had staged violent demonstrations in several parts of the city.

Realising that the Union Government was in no position to provide them any immediate help, hassled traders who initially failed to avail of the facility of submitting affidavits with the civic body later made the most of the second opportunity.

While in the first phase only 1,677 affidavits were filed, the second phase saw more than 15,000 traders making full use of the missed opportunity, clearly indicating that traders were in no mood to rely on mere "rhetoric" of the senior Congress leaders.

Similarly, the drive to remove unauthorised and illegal structures from the Capital that began in December last year has also gradually slowed down. Against the target of removing around 18,000 unauthorised constructions, the civic body has managed to target just 1,300 in the past four months. Despite the Delhi High Court's strict instructions to expedite the drive, the civic body has been targeting only 10-20 properties each day, mainly due to manpower crunch.