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BJP’s MCD sealing shops of COVID-hit traders, demanding Rs 2 lakh for unsealing: AAP

NEW DELHI: Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Durgesh Pathak issued a statement on Monday saying that BJP’s MCD has sealed shops of several corona-hit traders and has canceled trade licences. The BJP has demanded Rs 2 lakh per unit from them to remove the seal. This case is from the Sonia Vihar area of Karawal Nagar where NGT had constituted a committee of the MCD, the Delhi Pollution Board, and the police to conduct an inquiry and seal the shops causing pollution. After investigation, out of about 200 units, 5 polluting units were sealed. BJP leaders then became greedy and canceled the trade licenses of several traders under the pretext of land disputes as its reason. Durgesh Pathak asked, “If there was a land dispute, why did the BJP validate their trade licenses in the first place?”

Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak said, “In this period of Corona, many families were destroyed, many people lost all their assets, and many people’s businesses came to a standstill. There is probably no government in the world that is not trying to get its citizens out of this calamity. By giving a variety of discounts, by giving a variety of facilities, people are trying to get the economy and trade back on track. But it is Delhi’s misfortune, that here the biggest problem is the BJP- ruled MCD. On the one hand, there is the Delhi Government and various other governments that want to bring the economy and trade up. On the other hand, the BJP- ruled MCD is engaged in destroying the traders by increasing the trade license fees, commercial taxes, and professional taxes. Still, the BJP did not stop here, it is now busy sealing businesses.”

He said, “Today I will tell you a sad story and you should listen to it and decide what to do about it. This story from my own constituency, Karawal Nagar. There is a small area called Sonia Vihar where some people run the business of junk godowns together. People have been doing business there for many years. Some other people complained to the NGT that perhaps these people are causing pollution. The NGT constituted a committee of the MCD, the Delhi Pollution Board, and the Delhi police and asked them to investigate the matter. There were about 200 units in that area. The NGT asked them to check these units for pollution and also ordered them to immediately seal the units if a pollution case is found.”

The AAP leader said, “We also believe that if a unit is causing pollution, it should be sealed immediately. On investigation of the matter, the Committee found only 5 out of 200 units that were causing pollution. All five units were immediately sealed. But the BJP-ruled East MCD, which was part of the committee, did not stop here. It is important to note here that all the shops in this area had a trade license contract dated 31st March 2022. Despite this, the East MCD has unnecessarily sealed several more shops here, in the last 2-3 days.”

Referring to a list prepared by the MCD, Durgesh Pathak said, “The MCD has drawn a list stating that trade licenses of these people are being cancelled. Firstly, I would like to explain how a trade license is made. When a person applies for a trade license, the MCD officials and inspectors go and conduct an investigation, only then the trade license is recognized. The MCD says there is some land dispute here so their trade license cannot be sustained. The issue of pollution was raised yet the MCD has reached to take up land disputes. So, my question is, if there was a land dispute, why did you validate all these trade licenses in the first place? This means that either your process and your system are improper or your intentions have now changed.”

The AAP leader said, “Many people from the market association came to see me and many people spoke to me over the phone. They told me that BJP leaders are constantly roaming there and saying that you will be freed from the seal only if you make a monthly system for it. There are about 200 units and the MCD is demanding 2 lakhs per unit from them. This means that the seal will be removed only when all these traders give Rs.2 lakhs per unit to the BJP leaders.”

Durgesh Pathak said, “I am deeply saddened by this. The business class has already been destroyed by COVID-19. BJP feels that their departure from the MCD is certain in the coming 7-8 months, so they are trying to raid the people and loot as much money as they can. Aam Aadmi Party is against this move by the BJP. If somebody is causing pollution there they should undoubtedly be investigated. However, it is shameful to harass the citizens in this way.”

Reading some names in the MCD’s list, Durgesh Pathak said, “Awadhesh Gupta, Chandan Kumar, Salahuddin, Mohanlal, Rahul Agarwal, etc are all traders. There can’t be any situation more unfortunate than sealing their shops. I urge the BJP leaders not to do any bad things to Delhi’s people if they cannot do anything good to them.”