Delhi

With police cover, STF conducts door-to-door survey in Mayapuri

Legal counsel for traders says officials now trying to turn something ‘illegal’ legal

The Special Task Force (STF) assigned to look into the “illegal” scrap units in Mayapuri undertook a ‘door-to-door’ survey on Tuesday with heavy police deployment to identify polluting units in the area.

Violence had broken out in Mayapuri on April 13 and several people were injured when district officials attempted to carry out a sealing drive there.

Following the row, the High Court ordered a stay on the sealing and said that the DPCC (Delhi Pollution Control Committee) had passed a blanket order of imposing environmental damage charges without identifying polluting units.

‘Face-saving drive’

Inderjit Singh Monty, legal counsel for the traders in the area, said that officials are trying to save their face by carrying out the surveys before the next date of hearing on May 20. “They are trying to make something illegal now legal,” Mr. Monty said.

“We had submitted to the court that the drive was undertaken without any survey and that is exactly what they are proving now,” Mr. Monty said adding that there is no problem in carrying out the survey and traders are cooperating with the authorities.

At the time they started sealing the units, authorities in their submission to the National Green Tribunal had named only 34 units as polluting, he said adding that a list of 812 units was circulated on local WhatsApp group and it had names of those who were not engaged in scrap work.

On the evening when the violence broke out, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate had posted a public notice giving shop owners 48 hours time to comply with the sealing order. It had prompted several traders to sell off their goods at discounted rates and empty their stores. The DPCC had also started issuing a fine of ₹50 lakh as environmental damage charges to units being sealed, Mr. Monty pointed out.

The sealing drive took place two days after the NGT passed an order asking why authorities involved should not face civil imprisonment if they didn’t take action by the next date of hearing scheduled for May 3.

Prior to this, the tribunal had ordered that action be taken on at least four occasions, first in 2015, then in October 2018, January 2019 and finally on April 11.

Official response

A member of the Special Task Force said a door-to-door survey was being undertaken as some units might have been missed out during the previous survey. Chairperson and member secretary of DPCC were unreachable for comment.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 4:36:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/with-police-cover-stf-conducts-door-to-door-survey-in-mayapuri/article27131701.ece

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