The Delhi Government could soon provide relief on conversion and parking charges imposed by the MCD at local shopping centres, according to a statement issued on Sunday.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met owners of nearly 500 shops that were sealed at Local Shopping Centres (LSC) for non-payment of conversion charges and parking fees, it said.
Conversion charges are paid by property owners if the status of the area on which it is located changes from residential to commercial.
During the meeting, the traders raised the issue of nearly 500 shops being sealed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for non-payment of “illegal” conversion and parking charges.
Kejriwal said a solution would be found and instructed Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj and Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi to resolve the issue at the earliest.
He also assured that a solution would be promptly found for the markets currently undergoing sealing.
The MCD has been serving notices to markets for conversion and parking charges amounting to lakhs of rupees for a few years, Bharadwaj said, adding that consequently, many shops were sealed.
LSC Federation chief Rajesh Goyal said it had bought commercial space that was many times more expensive to avoid conducting business from home. The shopowners were first charged a hefty conversion fee and, even after the BJP — which headed the civic body at the time — promised that the charge would not have to be paid by commercial shops, the battle continued.
Vishal Ohri, the federation's general secretary, mentioned that around 500 shops had been sealed in five years and alleged that the traders suffered a loss of Rs 5,000 crore due to the previous BJP regime in the MCD.
After hearing the traders' concerns, Kejriwal assured them that a decision would be taken within a few days.
He added that a solution for the ongoing sealing of markets would also be found in due time and it would be ensured that the shops could obtain legal status by paying reasonable rates. This will prevent them from being exploited in the future and the MCD will not be able to harass them for conversion and parking charges.
Bharadwaj said the MCD started serving notices a few years ago to markets for conversion and parking charges that ran into lakhs of rupees.
There are big markets in Delhi, including the ones in Greater Kailash, South Extension, Defence Colony, Kirti Nagar, Green Park and Priya Cinema Market -- called Local Shopping Centres.
The MCD sealed several shops in 2018 with videos and pictures emerging of shopkeepers in tears. Even today, most shops in Defence Colony are sealed, according to the statement. Sharing details about the meeting, Kejriwal tweeted, “For the last several years, more than 500 shops of all these traders have been sealed; I have instructed Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj and MCD Mayor Shelly Oberoi to solve the problems of all these traders as soon as possible.”