Chandni Chowk fire: Focus back on Shahjahanabad revamp plan
Repeated court orders and drives initiated by the municipal corporation have failed to prevent encroachments and illegal construction in the area.delhi Updated: May 24, 2017 10:09 IST
The fire in Chandni Chowk’s Katra Dhulia area on Monday night put the focus back on the Shahjahanabad redevelopment project, which has been delayed for years.
Repeated court orders and drives initiated by the municipal corporation have failed to prevent encroachments and illegal construction in the area.
Over the years, multi-storeyed structures have been illegally added to decades-old colonnade. Old structures such as havelis and mansions have been converted into commercial complexes, leading to a complete collapse of the civic infrastructure. The clusters of shop in Katra Dhulia are some examples.
Walkways are encroached upon by vendors. Illegal parking on both sides of the carriageway and cycle-rickshaws hinder traffic movement.
The authorities planned to shift overhead power cables to under the ground years ago but the project is not complete.
Criticising the government for the delay, traders of the market said they were lucky that the incident took place at night and no casualty was reported.
“We always fear if there is big disaster in the area, rescue operations will be a difficult task. On Monday, the fire-fighters struggled hard to reach the site to carry out their operation. It is high time the government should seriously take up the Chandni Chowk redevelopment project. Had it been happened during business hours, the damage could have been much more,” said Sanjay Bhargava, general secretary, Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal.
A senior officer of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation said the fire might have weakened adjoining structures and they are under watch.
“A report has been submitted by the department concerned after inspecting the site.The Entire Dangerous Building Cell of the city zone under which the area falls is keeping a vigil on affected structures. After fumes settle, a thorough inspection will be carried out and dangerous structures or portions of the building will be demolished,” said the official.