If you are planning to visit one of the eateries in New Delhi's Khan Market, your meal might be in a soup.
A Supreme Court-monitored committee has ordered the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to seal over 30 eateries in the posh retail hub for violating provisions of the 2021 Master Plan, the Times of India reported, citing a source.
The alleged violation is said to be the non-payment of a 'conversion charge', that needs to be paid for carrying out commercial activities in the area. Conversion charges are levied when an area notified by the municipality as a 'residential complex' is 'misused' for commercial purposes.
According to the Master Plan, traders who are running commercial activities above the ground floor in local shopping complexes will have to pay use conversion charges at Rs 22,274 per square meter to the local body.
Monthly rentals at Khan market stood stable at Rs 1,250 per sq ft in the past one year, but still, its ranking improved. In the 2016 report, it was placed 28th.
The NDMC had threatened to seal '30 eateries' for the same reason in 2011 too, reported the Hindu.
Khan Market is already in the NDMC's dock for another reason. After the fire at a pub in Mumbai's Kamala Mills compound, it has come to light that several eateries in the market are in the danger zone. Quoting G C Mishra, Director of Delhi Fire Services, the PTI reported that most outlets are evading the norms by stating that they have a capacity to host less than 50 guests.
According to the National Building Code of India, only restaurants having 50 or above seats are under legal obligation to obtain no objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department.
"We were referred several cases from different buildings sanctioning and licensing authorities, out of which we have granted fire safety certificates to 400 eateries in Delhi," Mishra added.
The Times of India quotes the President of the Khan Market Traders association as saying that already '40 establishments' in the retail hub have paid the fee. However, he said that the 'charges' were to be used for "development" of the market, but any such effort on the administration's part is not yet visible.
The Delhi Development Authority website says, "A Master Plan is the long-term perspective plan for guiding the sustainable planned development of the city. This lays down the planning guidelines, policies, development code and space requirements for various socio-economic activities supporting the city population during the plan period. It is also the basis for all infrastructure requirements."
The national capital's upscale Khan market has moved up four positions to become the world's 24th most expensive retail location even as it continues to be the costliest to hire a shop in India, according to a Cushman and Wakefield report in November 2017.