Inspect Chandni Chowk project, orders Anil Baijal

Lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal Monday ordered a joint inspection of the Chandni Chowk redevelopment project on May 29 by all stakeholders and the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC), which had raised objections to the project.

The decision comes after DUAC, which had objected to the shifting of utility services on the central verge, was not convinced with changes made by stakeholders — North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC), PWD and discom — to address concerns raised by it.

The art body had earlier objected to the SRDC — the body tasked with conserving the heritage and plan development work in the Walled City — putting utilities such as power transformers, toilets, police posts etc., on the central verge of the 1.5km road between the Red Fort and the Fatehpuri mosque.

According to a senior official present in the meeting on Monday, DUAC stressed on shifting transformers elsewhere. In the plan, 23 transformers are proposed on the central verge. Following objections by the DUAC, the Delhi government’s PWD along with the discom had reviewed the situation.

“The LG was informed that of the 23 transformers proposed, only 19 will be installed in the beginning. But the committee was informed that transformers can’t be relocated elsewhere— their locations can be shifted slightly at some places,” the official said.

“It was agreed that of the 19 transformers, five in front of Town Hall and one in front of Gali Paranthawali can be realigned along the central median, but the expenditure incurred on the relocation/shifting will be charged in addition to the actual expenditure,” an inspection report by SRDC to Delhi L-G’s office said.

But the DUAC was still unconvinced. When contacted, DUAC chairman PSN Rao refused comment on the matter saying it was sub judice.

Smita Datta Makhija, a conservation architect, said, “There is a need to protect the central median of the promenade. Utilities can’t be put on the central verge; with the help of experts, we can find a solution,” said Makhija, who has challenged the redevelopment work in the Delhi high court.

But traders are upset with DUAC and heritage conservationists. “DUAC was constituted in 1973. What has it done in so many years to protect the heritage of the Walled City? So many havelis have been ruined. Where was DUAC then? The art body is just unnecessarily creating hurdles in the development project,” Sanjay Bhargava, president of Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, said.

According to a senior official, the stakeholders presented the possible changes after a joint survey.

The Delhi Police, too, has agreed to shift the location of its police posts “so as to enhance the view of Chunamal Haveli, which is of immense heritage value”.

First Published:
May 28, 2019 05:29 IST

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