Ground Report: Factories again mushroom in Vishwas Nagar
New Delhi, June 28: Hundreds of illegal factories have been operating in Vishwas Nagar in East Delhi in connivance with police and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) officials.
It's notable that the sealing drive was conducted in Vishwas Nagar in August last year by the EDMC on the directions of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee over the alleged misuse of residential premises for running factories.
The drive started after the monitoring committee visited the residential area on August 3 and found rampant violation of norms. It found that hundreds of small factories and godowns were functioning out of residential units, in violation of Delhi Master Plan 2021.
One India has learnt from reliable sources that when the sealing drive was going on then affluent factory owners having political connections had saved their properties from being sealed by greasing the palms of EDMC and police officials.
The EDMC had issued notices to 1970 defaulters but a total of 534 illegal factories in Vishwas Nagar were sealed last year.
The clause of misuse charges was misused rampantly during the sealing drive. Corrupt EDMC officials had let off the big fishes by asking them to pay misuse charges and only small factory owners were made scapegoats, a factory owner tells One India whose unit was sealed last year. Misuse charge is 1.5 times of conversion charges. The civic body had recovered crores of rupees as misuse charge from defaulters.
On January 3, Delhi Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain while participating in a discussion in the state assembly on the sealing drive issue said that the conversion charges, being taken from traders to provide relief from sealing, are just to 'make money'.
The above-mentioned factory owner says that he often thinks of complaining about the illegal factories but doesn't do because of fear that all the corrupt will gang-up against him and may implicate him in a false case.
When this scribe toured the area, it was found that now illegal factories have mushroomed in those buildings which escaped sealing drive last year.
Hundreds of illegal commercial units can be seen operating out of residential buildings in streets number 16 & 03 and Sant Bhikam Singh Colony.
Many building owners who had escaped the sealing drive last year by paying misuse charge have rented out their properties to illegal factories on a hefty monthly rent.
According to reliable sources, every factory owner is paying anywhere between Rs 1 lakh to 2.5 lakh per month as bribe to various authorities, including police, who are responsible implementing the orders of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit.
In July last year, the monitoring committee had submitted a report to the apex court pointing out the non-cooperation of civic agencies in the sealing drive.
Sealing had started in Delhi in December 2017. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled three civic agencies had sealed at least 6,000 units across Delhi till the sealing drive was stopped due to changes in Delhi Master Plan. Currently, Om Prakash Sharma is the BJP MLA from Vishwas Nagar.