Once, the brick and mortar gates of Shahjahanabad — as the Walled City was called in the 17th century — gave Delhi its landmarks.
By the time the Commonwealth Games kick off next year, the state government plans to give five new gates to Delhi that would not only serves as its entry points but also give it a distinct identity.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s pet project, which remained on the drawing board for two years, is finally on track for implementation.
The Unified Traffic & Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre, which approves Delhi’s infrastructure projects, gave its nod to the project at its last meeting on May 29.
“The infrastructure centre has cleared the project. We will now send it to Delhi Urban Arts Commission for a final approval before starting work. We intend to complete it by Commonwealth Games,” said Rakesh Mehta, chief secretary of Delhi.
Delhi, which has historically been known for its gates, once had 52 gates. Most of them now no longer exist.
The new project, to be funded by the Delhi government, will cost anywhere between Rs 60 crore and Rs 70 crore.
The gates would come up at the city’s borders on five sides — Ghazipur, Shahdara, Tikri, Loni Road and Nandnagri.
“They would be made of stainless steel and special steel wires would be used for suspended structures. These gates would
also have special lights for illumination,” said an official of the infrastructure centre.
Once all the necessary approval comes through, it will take about seven months to erect the gates.
The Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation will implement the project.
“Once we get the DUAC clearance, we will invite global tenders for constructing the gates,” said an official of the infrastructure development body.
Delhi government wants the gates to be ready before the Commonwealth Games start in October 2010.
The plan has its share of critics.
“These are ornamental gates. My suggestion is that instead of making them a permanent feature, they should be structures that can be dismantled, so that they can be removed once the Games are over,” said K.T. Ravindran, a noted town planner.
Ravindran said the gates could act as facilitation centre and should be integrated with facilities like petrol pumps, food courts, and tourism kiosks to benefit those who visit the city from neighbouring states during the Games.