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DDA proposes uniform FAR to resolve the sealing of commercial units in Delhi markets



As the Delhi traders’ trade bandh entered the second day, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the land owning urban body of the National Capital, has come out with a proposal to resolve the mess created by the sealing drive that started a month ago by the Civic agencies on the direction of the apex court appointed committee.  The Authority in its meeting chaired by Anil Baijal, Lt. Governor of Delhi who is also the Chairman of DDA, has announced the proposal to bring necessary amendments to the Master Plan 2021 to overcome the current problem which has become a strong political issue in the Capital city.

A major relief that has been proposed by the DDA is uniform FAR. “It has been proposed to provide uniform FAR in shop-cum-residence plots or complexes at par with the residential plots as given on mixed use street which will depend on the size of the plot and subject to availability of parking,” the statement by DDA said. Other reliefs being proposed include reduction in penalties in annual conversion charges from 10 times to two times, allowing commercial activities in the basements, etc.

As per traders associations in Delhi, around 8 lakh shops and 1.5 lakh factories in the capital city closed shutters on the first day of the trade bandh on Friday in solidarity to the bandh against the ongoing sealing drive in the city.

The sealing drive has had an adverse impact on the food service business in the city, with major hubs like Defence Colony market, Greater Kailash, Khan Market, Hauz Khas, etc. Talking about the impact of sealing on the restaurant business in the city, Kabir Suri, Delhi Chapter Head, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), said, “Sealing drive across Delhi is hurting the business sentiment across various sectors. The Restaurant Industry, in an already difficult business environment, is going through its toughest phase. There are a lot of grey areas around various policies and its interpretation by different departments and civic agencies. While individual violations should be acted against but confusion over policy implementation should not lead to enmasse sort of sealing. Such a move does not help with the government stated policy of ease of doing business and employment. The present drive should be expeditiously resolved through proper policy formulation and its implementation.”

Sandeep Khandelwal, President, Delhi Hotel & Restaurant Owners’ Association (DHROA) has blamed the civic bodies in the capital city for the current mess in the city. He said that Municipal Corporations in Delhi had collected almost INR 5,000 cr as Conversion charges and only INR 200 cr has been spent on developing parking infrastructure, etc.  The rest of the money has been misused by transferring into General account while the Master Plan clearly mandated the Corporations to maintain an Escrow account for conversion charges to avoid its misuse. “Since the purpose of Conversion charges have been defeated, the government should stop collecting the conversion charges or rather waive off the same,” he demanded. When asked about the new proposal to increase the FAR, Khandelwal said that it will only help “local commercial markets” and will not be sufficient to resolve the broader issues faced by residents as well as businesses in the city.

Even after the proposal came out yesterday, the trade associations are going ahead with the three-day  Trade Bandh  in the city.

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