Delhi High Court says city 'held to ransom by traders'

Feb 11, 2018, 12:09 IST | PTI

In an apparent disapproval of the government's proposed amendment of the master plan after traders protested against the sealing drive

Representation pic
Representation pic

In an apparent disapproval of the government's proposed amendment of the master plan after traders protested against the sealing drive, the Delhi High Court has observed that a few people have "held the city to ransom". A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar further observed that by sitting on a dharna "you can get the master plan changed". "Not because it is required nor after checking if the city can handle it. It is done because a few hundred people sit on a dharna. "The master plan is being amended because the traders have held the city to ransom by pulling down their shutters," it said and asked the authorities whether an environment impact assessment was conducted before proposing to amend the Master Plan-2021.

The Master Plan-2021 is a blueprint for urban planning and expansion in the metropolis to ensure overall development and the proposed amendments were for bringing a uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residential plots and complexes on par with residential plots. The observations by the bench came while hearing matters pertaining to unauthorised constructions and encroachment of public land. The traders, across Delhi, had on February 2 shut down their shops in protest against the sealing of commercial establishments running from residential areas or premises.

The Delhi Development Authority had, thereafter, proposed to amend the master plan by providing uniform FAR for shop- cum-residence plots or complexes on par with residential plots, as given to properties on mixed-use street. The FAR is the ratio of a building's total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the piece of land on which it is built. The Supreme Court had earlier observed that the rule of law over sanction to construct buildings had "completely broken down" in Delhi and expressed concern over illegal construction. It had also ordered restoration of its 2006 monitoring committee to identify and seal such offending structures. With the commencement of the sealing drive, the traders had protested by shutting their shops as well as going on dharnas.

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