Mayapuri sealing drive: Government should help us, not shut us down, say traders

Three days after the sealing drive at Mayapuri scrap market, authorities and the government are yet to offer a solution to the stalemate. As the agencies continue to trade charges, the AAP government has not taken a call on whether to relocate the traders to an alternative site or not.

On Sunday, Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had alleged that the Delhi Development Authority was to allot land for relocation of the traders. Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday denied the charge. The traders, however, blamed the government for lack of clarity on the issue, and creating a situation of panic and fear. They say that the norms for allowing scrap dealing aren’t clear.

“If the government wants us to shift from this place they should have allotted us an alternative site. It is inhumane to order sealing against us. It is a matter of our survival,” said Ravinder Singh, a trader.

While the government’s Delhi pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has issued at least 765 notices to traders, DPCC officials said at least 34 industrial units were running without mandatory “consent to operate” certificate by the government. The sealing was undertaken on the orders of the National Green Tribunal.

Also Read | No coercive action in Mayapuri scrap market: Delhi High Court

Gurvinder Kumar Cuckoo, general secretary Old Motor and Machinery Parts Dealers Association said, “What was the hurry for a sealing drive? The green court says that the scrap industries are creating pollution and not following the norms. The norms for the use of gas cutter to dismantle the vehicles say that the industry should have a plot size of 1000 sq yards with chimneys. But the problem is that we were given plots with size ranging from 22 to 50 sq yards by the authorities during relocation from Motia Khan in 1975. What is our fault?” Cuckoo said.

The Special Task Force (STF) formed by the NGT, headed by SDM (Delhi Cantonment), had surveyed around 812 premises in Blocks C, D, E and W. In the survey, it was found that all these ‘shopkeepers’ were dealing in industrial activities by breaking down old vehicles with gas cutters. While doing this, they encroached upon open roads, thereby polluting the local environment. At least 60% of the roads were found to be encroached by these traders, the STF said.

The notices were issued in the name of encroachment of public land leading to congestion and air pollution and violations under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

“The NGT thereafter ordered to shut them down. Hence, the notices were served on the basis of NGT orders and a team went to Mayapuri on Saturday to seal the units. They were earlier fined Rs 1 lakh for polluting the environment,” said a DPCC official.

Another trader Vipin Chadha questioned the findings of the STF survey. “No authority asked about our problems but issued notices. They did not even conduct a proper survey. The government should tell us ways to control pollution. Shutting down industries is not a solution,” Chadha said.

First Published:
Apr 16, 2019 12:06 IST

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