Delhi Metro's proposed line running through the Walled City area received unanimous support on Friday from the traders and residents, who also emphasised the need to integrate better parking facilities near the stations.
The representatives aired their views and came up with a number of suggestions for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) at a meeting of the stakeholders.
Vijay Singh, who has been designated as the competent authority under the amended Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Act, had called a meeting to discuss the Central Secretariat–Janpath–Mandi House–ITO–Delhi Gate–Jama Masjid–Red Fort–Kashmere Gate line of phase III.
The proposed alignment runs within a distance of 300 metres of a number of protected heritage sites, including the Red Fort and Delhi Gate. At a few places it runs less than 100 metres away from the monuments. An amendment in the ASI Act in March 2010 bans any construction within 100 metres in all directions of a protected heritage site, one of the primary reasons that prompted the meeting.
After a presentation, DMRC's deputy chief engineer Saleem Ahmad said, "Apart from giving the much-needed connectivity, we are hopeful that our new line will give the residents of the area and the visitors to heritage monuments clean surroundings and more green spaces."Suggestions and questions started pouring in immediately even as every single speaker supported the Metro line. Tariq Bukhari from the historic Jama Masjid, suggested to integrate space for cycle rickshaws while planning the station there.
VM Mehta, president of the Old Lajpat Rai Market Association, asked if the digging up for the Red Fort station would eat into the upcoming surface car parking at the market? Informing about the ongoing court case with the authorities in connection with a parking plan for Tikona Park and Subhash Park, Pankaj Bhatnagar from Daryaganj said they should be involved while planning anything for that place.
Vijay Rustagi, president of the Daryaganj RWA, said, "If the new alignment is in the public interest and if the safety of the monuments is assured, there should be no harm in Metro coming here."
Renu Gupta, chairperson of the MCD's city zone, too expressed her support for the line. Apart from Gupta, conspicuous by their absence were women from the area.