Three years after a Delhi high court directive, work for lowering of the road level under the 18th century Tripolia Gateways in north Delhi was inaugurated on Sunday.
Heavy traffic at the Maharana Pratap Bagh stretch of the GT Road around Tripolia Gateways - built by Nazir Mahaldar Khan in 1729-29 - had severely damaged its arches and the sidewalls of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected pair of triple gateways.
Owing to continuous fatal accidents, Maharana Pratap Bagh RWA had approached the high court, which had in 2009 directed lowering of the road.
Prompted by the delay in work, the RWA drew the ASI's attention to the number of fatal accidents there. Through RTI queries, the residents established that 24 persons had died during 2002-2012 in accidents between Rajpura Gurmandi and the traffic signal at their colony while seven people had died during 2008-2012 between this point and Azadpur chowk.
Area MLA Kanwar Karan Singh, who allotted funds for the work, inaugurated the work on Sunday morning. While the road has been transferred to the PWD, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation will carry out the work.
"In the Mughal era, elephants and camels passed below this. Regular re-laying of the road took it one-and-a-half metres up from the original level. Lowering was the best solution as howsoever we may repair the road, unless the vehicular traffic stops, damage to the monument cannot be avoided," said a senior ASI official.
Saurabh Gandhi, RWA president, said: "This work will be a fitting tribute for those who lost their lives on the stretch."
The ASI has spent Rs. 21 lakh on the conservation work. While the northern gateway is complete, it has not yet finalised the future course for the southern unit, hit twice by heavy vehicles after earlier repairs.