The South Delhi Municipal Corporation continued with its sealing drive on Tuesday even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the move was rather to”fill its coffers”. The corporation also extended its drive to agricultural properties being used for commercial purposes while sealing a farmhouse in Chhattarpur.The farmhouse used to host social functions and events, and had an additional built-up area, said the civic officials. The civic body had on Saturday sealed 51 restaurants and shops in Defence Colony market for “illegal” construction and not paying conversion charges.The sealing drive is being taken on the directions of the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee which, in a meeting with commissioners of the three municipal corporations and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Tuesday, directed the agencies to carry out the drives in all the areas under their jurisdiction.The AAP, however, alleged that the Monitoring Committee was acting as a”tax collector” for the BJP-led corporations in the city.”We have asked all the civic agencies to carry out the drive in areas under their jurisdiction,” said Bhure Lal, former bureaucrat and member of the committee.Meanwhile, the trader’s body of the Defence Colony market, along with AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj and local councillors, met the south corporation commissioner demanding the withdrawal of the sealing drive. They also asked for some time to pay off the conversion charges.”We were assured that the drive will be halted immediately while we have got three months time to pay the pending conversion charges. We have also urged them to reduce or waive off the conversion charges from Rs 89,000 to Rs 22,000 for which a proposal is pending with the Central government’s urban development ministry,” said RK Bhatia, member of the traders association.Kamaljeet Sehrawat, Mayor, South MCD, agreeing to the traders’demands said she will meet the Monitoring Committee in this regard on Wednesday.”We will be meeting the Committee to take the drive in a phased manner and give enough time to traders to deposit charges. Also, we plan to reduce the conversion charges from 89,000 to 22,000 as per the proposal,” said Sehrawat.
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