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7 lakh traders observe total bandh against sealing drive

New Delhi: It was a total shutdown in the Capital as nearly 7 lakh traders staged a protest against the ongoing sealing drive in the city. They demanded that the government bring out an amnesty ordinance to protect traders.
The strike is expected to cause loss of business worth Rs 1,500 crore. According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), more than 7 lakh traders belonging to more than 2,000 trade associations across the city joined in the "Delhi Trade Bandh" against the sealing in the city, which they said is in violation of statutory provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act.
CAIT pointed out that the day-long "bandh" would cause a loss of revenue to the tune of about Rs 125 crore to the government and drain out the working hours of about 20 lakh people.
"The traders are demanding that the government protect them from sealing by bringing an ordinance, an 'Amnesty Scheme' on building and commercial activities on 'as is where is basis' as on December 31, 2017, notifying 351 roads as commercial or mix land use and increase in FAR (floor area ratio) to protect additional construction," said Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal.
Traders' associations said that local shopping centres were given on commercial rates and now conversion charge was being demanded and sealing conducted without giving any notice, which cannot be justified. "The entire sealing proceedings are being run in a dictatorial manner keeping aside the MCD Act, 1957," they said, adding that the move "deprived the traders from taking advantage of the provisions of the Act."
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supported the shutdown in Delhi in protest against sealing and FDI in which the party leaders and activists were shoulder to shoulder with Delhi businessmen. Delhi Convenor of Aam Aadmi Party Gopal Rai said, "Aam Aadmi Party thanks all the traders of Delhi for making the Delhi band held in protest against sealing and FDI successful."
Showing solidarity with the traders, Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari said that that the ongoing sealing in Delhi is being conducted on the direction of the Monitoring Committee and even the establishment to be sealed is decided by them. He said that the sorry situation in which the traders today find themselves is the result of delay in notification of commercial roads by the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party.
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Maken said that the Delhi Traders' Congress supported the bandh organised by the traders of Delhi to protest against the sealing drive in Delhi. Maken said that it was very strange that despite the BJP Government being at the Centre and in the Municipal Corporations of Delhi, and the Aam Aadmi Party ruling Delhi, they did nothing to stop the sealing drive being carried out in Delhi to harass the traders of Delhi.
The statement said that traders in various markets across Delhi were taking out protest marches in their respective markets and would later join "protest dharnas" being held at various places like Chowk Hauz Qazi, Kamla Nagar, South Extension, Rajouri Garden and Krishna Nagar to raise their voice strongly demanding justice.

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