Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest shopping hubs in Old Delhi, is set to get a facelift with the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) announcing the launch of two projects to beautify the area while preserving its cultural heritage. Electric cables and wires hanging at various places in the area, posing danger to life and property, will be laid underground as part of the first project, while traffic congestion will be resolved under the second.
"A small spark can lead to a blaze in the congested neighbourhood of the city. These wires are an eyesore as well as hazardous, hence, they will be buried underground," chief secretary PK Tripathi said at a function here while announcing the projects.
Local MP Kapil Sibal. Pic/MiD DAY
Truth of the fact
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who was also present, said the Board still had a long way to go in terms of implementation of the redevelopment plan. "It is difficult to preserve heritage sites when people are living in them. The aim is to restore the beauty of the place, and also provide amenities to the people living in the area," Sibal said.
The minister explained that the project took some time to launch as all the stakeholders needed to be brought on board. "Wide consultations with the residents and traders were made while finalising the plan. Ultimately, shopkeepers understood that if there are good facilities and beautiful places to walk and eat, shoppers will automatically flock to the area, thereby increasing their sales," he said. "My ultimate dream is to shift the traders out of the city to a large site, with world class facilities, and maintain Old Delhi purely as a heritage site," Sibal said. The project is to be implemented in phases.
In the first phase, wires will be buried underground on the main road of Chandni Chowk, from Red Fort to Lahore Gate, Church Mission Road, Esplanade Road, HC Sen Road, Naya Bazar, Khari Baoli, Nai Sarak and Dariba.
In Daryaganj area, overhead system of electrical wires will be buried under Jama Masjid Urdu Bazar Marg and Matia Mahal Road. The project will be implemented by BSES at an estimated cost of Rs 13.23 crore, which will be entirely funded and monitored by the SRDC, and it is expected to be completed in the next few months.
What may follow
The second project aims at resolving traffic congestion and other related issues in an economically feasible as well as technologically viable manner. It includes construction of footpaths, service ducts of size 6 X 6 feet on both sides of Chandni Chowk road, improvement of the drainage system, street furniture and signage, and facade improvement. The first phase of the project is to be implemented by MCD at an estimated cost of Rs 18.94 crore. The two projects are being coordinated by SRDC, with its execution partners MCD, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, Delhi Jal Board and other stakeholders, like Delhi Police, MTNL and Delhi Fire Service, for time-bound execution of the projects.