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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Connaught Place, a victim of apathetic citizens and civic authorities

Ritam Halder , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 03, 2013
First Published: 02:39 IST(3/7/2013) | Last Updated: 02:44 IST(3/7/2013)

Even after five long years, the Connaught Place (CP) restoration project is still shy of the finish line.

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And not only are many tasks still to be completed, even those that have been ticked off from the 'To do list' are in a shambles due to lack of monitoring and maintenance.

A visit to the fifth most expensive office destination in the world, located in the heart of the Capital, on Tuesday revealed another façade of the revamp bid — the blind spots which have emerged over the past half a decade.

The marble tiles, both small and big ones, at various points of the Outer Circle are either broken or missing. Garbage dumps have emerged in various dimly-lit corners. The more glamorous Inner Circle is dotted with betel juice-stained columns and corners.

"It is a shame that a beautiful spot of the Capital is so dirty. Better monitoring by the authorities will help. However, people should also take ownership," said a Japanese tourist, who did not wish to be named.

And he was spot-on. Taking ownership, rather than blaming authorities, will definitely help the cause. Two-wheelers whizz through the corridors of the Outer Circle with élan. People spit and litter everywhere. Uncovered manholes have turned into dump yards, and people prefer to dump their garbage here rather than in the garbage bins.

Lack of maintenance is also a big part of the reality. Apart from missing tiles, portions of the base of the grand white pillars are missing at many places. Many corridor lights don't function. At a spot in B Block, a section of a wall was found missing.

But the most neglected section of the entire area is the Middle Circle. Not only is this portion of Connaught Place the dirtiest, it also houses most of the 20 public toilets, which are apparently ready but remain locked. So people are forced to urinate on the walls, making the entire area reek of urine.

According to Atul Bhargava, president of New Delhi Traders' Association, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) should put in place a facility management mechanism.

"It should take care of the parking lots and look after the cleaning and minor repair work. In some blocks, shopkeepers have kept private sweepers. The Inner Circle mainly comprises shops and is somewhat maintained. But the outer and middle circles mostly house offices and lack of maintenance is more stark here," Bhargava said.


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