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Chandni Chowk gets a new look, but may miss I-Day show

Chandni Chowk gets a new look, but may miss I-Day show

New Delhi:

The revamped stretch of Chandni Chowk may not be opened this Independence Day, after all.

Officials said the 20-metre stretch, which will give a glimpse of what the central vista of the heritage market of Chandni Chowk will look like after redevelopment, is still being readied.

Though Delhi government has fixed March 2020 as the deadline to complete the redevelopment of the 1.3km stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Mosque, the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) had proposed to open a small stretch by Independence Day to give residents and traders an idea on how the road will look once completed.

Though the public works department (PWD), which is executing the project for SRDC, has constructed the central road, built the sidewalks, installed boulevards and benches, beautified the area with greenery and fixed lights, sources said the agency required some more time to finish the remaining work.

“We were hoping that the stretch would be ready before Independence Day but it still requires some work. We have informed the SRDC board about it and the urban development minister is likely to inspect the site in a couple of days before a final decision is taken,” an official said.

The SRDC board, headed by urban development minister Satyendar Jain, met at the Delhi Secretariat on Wednesday and discussed the progress of the redevelopment work. Top officials of all departments involved attended the meeting, which went on for almost two hours.

The redevelopment of the central vista of Chandni Chowk, from Red Fort in the east to Fatehpuri Masjid in the west, includes widening of footpath, shifting of electricity and water lines underground, reconstruction of the median to accommodate transformers, installing of police booths, public conveniences and CCTV monitoring kiosks and street furniture. Only non-motorised vehicles will be allowed on the road between 9am and 9pm. The project is estimated to cost Rs 65 crore and scheduled to be completed by January 2020.

Sources said the board has also decided to go ahead with its original plan to place power transformers on the central verge, which was opposed by the Delhi Urban Art Commission. Both the Delhi Fire Services and the traders had opposed DUAC’s suggestion to shift the utilities from central verge to lanes and bylanes in the vicinity.

“The board members have unanimously resolved not to shift electrical units from the median. The decision will be conveyed to the lieutenant governor soon. On the directions of Delhi high court, LG Anil Baijal had asked SRDC to find a way ahead for the redevelopment project, after a crucial meeting of stakeholders last month remained inconclusive.

Sources said SRDC’s consultant will explore the possibility of reconstructing the iconic clock tower, which had partially collapsed in 1951 and was demolished subsequently. “Minister Satyendar Jain and Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba suggested reintroducing the tower with a turret clock in the iconic market. The minister also suggested rebuilding the clock tower at the same place where it previously stood in front of the Town Hall,” said an official. “The consultant will now explore the possibility if this was possible in the congested market.”