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Sealing drive: government to seek court's amnesty (SECOND LEAD)

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) The central government Saturday decided to seek amnesty till January from the Supreme Court for the capital's traders, facing sealing of their shops for operating illegally from residential areas, after a trade delegation met the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi here Saturday.

Saturday, October 28, 2006 | 7:09:30 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) The central government Saturday decided to seek amnesty till January from the Supreme Court for the capital's traders, facing sealing of their shops for operating illegally from residential areas, after a trade delegation met the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi here Saturday.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil that met to discuss the issue decided to file a review petition in the apex court seeking relief for 44,000 traders, who had submitted affidavits in the court saying they will close their shops by the court's deadline.

The government move is expected to exempt their shops from the sealing drive, which is scheduled to begin again on Nov 1.

The Supreme Court had ordered that the shops operating illegally from residential areas be sealed from Nov 1. The Delhi government has already appealed to a court-appointed monitoring committee that the sealing drive be postponed till Jan 31, 2007.

The GoM also decided to finalise the Delhi Master Plan 2021 by January.

Earlier in the day, thousands of traders sought Gandhi's intervention in the issue.

The representative of traders' organisations held a 45-minute meeting with Gandhi at her residence and submitted a memorandum seeking a comprehensive policy on the sealing of shops in residential areas and the demolition of illegal constructions.

The Delhi government has requested the central government to approach the Supreme Court to seek an extension of the suspension of the sealing drive beyond Oct 31. The court had suspended the sealing due to the festival season.

Patil, who chaired the GoM meet, met both Delhi Lt. Gov. B.L. Joshi and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Friday to discuss the issue.

The Delhi government said Friday that it would try to pass a resolution in the assembly that begins its session Monday that the sealing drive be stopped till the finalisation of the Master Plan 2021.

The Confederation of All India Traders has called for a three-day traders' shutdown from Monday to protest the sealing drive.

The protest against sealing drive had turned violent last month resulting in the deaths of four people and injuries to hundreds in Seelumpur area of east Delhi.

The civic authority had launched its sealing and demolition drive in April.

Copyright : Indo-Asian News Service
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