New Delhi, (4/2/2019): An emergency situation is developing in Delhi due to large scale eviction of micro and small traders from their business premises. Nearly 4 lakh ‘Pagdi Shopkeepers’, under the pretext of bona fide need, are facing major troubles in Delhi.
The system of “Pagdi” started in Pre-Independence era when Mahatma Gandhi propounded transfer of property without any document so that no registration charges and capital gains tax would be paid to the British rulers.
The transfer was oral and based on mutual trust as entire consideration was paid to the seller by the buyer. To convince the British law enforcers, a nominal rent receipt for one or two paise or annas was given.
The tenant was a de facto owner of the premises. The landlords purchased new properties with that money and multiplied their property holdings many times over. The rent receipt was issued only to facilitate the procurement of the electricity and water connection and other trade licenses to the tenant to run his business. Even the Supreme Court orders recognise ‘Pagdi’.
In April 2008, when the Hon’ble Supreme Court struck down the differentiation between the commercial tenants and residential tenants, it was the duty of the Central Government to specify the procedure applicable to such cases and also the conditions under which such cases could be filed. However, due to step-motherly and callous attitude towards micro and small traders of Delhi, the Centre has failed to take the needed steps resulting in 90-95% eviction rate within 1 or 2 years of the suit.
Landlords are now seeking eviction on false and fictitious needs such as for storing documents, widening of stairs, parking of cars etc.
The case of the employees of the evicted tenant is far worse. The employees are terminated and are not capable of being employed in the organized sector as they are only semi educated or uneducated and also working for generations in these shops.
At least 12 lakh Delhi citizens in the form of Tenants and their family members are being affected directly by way of these evictions. Another 20-30 lakh are being affected by way of labourers, suppliers etc.
Evictions are uprooting the livelihood of not only the tenant trader and his family but also the employees of the organization along with the suppliers and their employees. It is resulting in a cascading effect, creating dangerous social and economic problem.
Hundreds have lost their lives due to the shock of losing their only source of livelihood. Thousands of families are living in depression as large scale unemployment is being created.
Since 2014-2015, the cases have become very widespread and traders across all the markets in Delhi are now facing the threat of evictions.
Members of the Organisation have met the Members of Parliament of Delhi. Shri Maheish Girri , Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Dr. Udit Raj and Shri Manoj Tiwari Ji presented their case before Shri Venkaiah Naidu Ji (then Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development). Shri Naidu Ji was very receptive towards the problem and assured remedial measures.
Office bearers of the Organisation also met Shri Amit Shah (Hon’ble President BJP) atleast 15 times over the last 4 years. Everytime, they were given assurances that the matter would be resolved soon. In 2016, Shri Amit Shah even asked the office bearers to announce in public that the law would be amended in favour of the tenants within a week.
However, due to pressure from the land mafia, nothing happened. All the promises turned false and evictions have continued till date, damaging the social fabric and benefitting only the mafia.
In 2018, two delegations have managed to meet Shri Hardeep Singh Puri Ji (Hon’ble Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs). It seems to be that he is not interested in the matter at all, preferring to not even listen patiently. It seems that BJP is not serious on this issue and doesn’t want to address this problem.
The result of meeting all the leaders of the BJP in Delhi has been a big ZERO. All of them have made empty promises and nothing has happened on the ground. Lakhs of people have been uprooted and another 10 lakhs are living under constant threat and fear of losing their livelihood by way of evictions.
Nobody is interested in listening to the micro and small traders of Delhi.
The organization demands that summary procedure be scrapped and principle of comparative hardship be introduced for bonafide cases under the Delhi Rent Control Act by way of an ordinance so that ‘Pagdi’ tenants get immediate relief.
If the government doesn’t acts within 15 days, then all the ‘ Pagdi’ traders across Delhi will refrain from voting or will press NOTA Button during elections