Even as a multi-level underground parking to be built for the High Court has got an in-principal clearance for environmental concerns, the project proponents, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), have got a rap from the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC).
The State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) has given ‘in-principle clearance’ to the multi-level underground parking project on Sher Shah Suri Marg.
The High Court has delegated all powers to project consultants DMRC to get all permissions and complete work on its behalf.
The chairman of the appraisal committee, Dr C.R. Babu, said the in-principle approval carried a lot of riders.
“We have told the proponents of the project to get a certificate from the Archaeological Survey of India, get us a present status of the monument in question and such conditions. It was not a blanket approval,” he said.
The parking project has endangered existence of a small, unnamed dilapidated tomb.
It is an architectural value Grade I heritage structure that features in the list of 141 heritage monuments and structures in the NDMC area notified recently.
It means, no alterations/demolition can be made to any of the structures in the list without referring the proposal to the Heritage Conservation Committee.
Now, the Delhi Urban Arts Commission has thrashed the Delhi Metro for bypassing protocol vis-à-vis heritage concerns.
Sources said the DMRC proposal was discussed during the commission’s November 25 meeting.
“However, we told them point blank that they will have first to get clearance from the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). We also told them that the proposal must come through NDMC,” sources added.
Clearance from the HCC is a pre-requisite for development/redevelopment of a property in the notified list.
Last month, after Hindustan Times had drawn attention as to how the work by DMRC for the project had endangered existence of the 15th century heritage structure, the NDMC had issued stop work notice to them.
DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal had said only preparatory work was being carried out at the site.
Asked as to why did the DMRC approach the DUAC directly, its Chief Engineer Property Development Sunder Jethwani said, “We are not aware about the heritage status of the monument. We have no official intimation.”
The proposal is for a fully automated six-level underground parking to accommodate 1,500 cars with ground level work including public conveniences, services and a park over ground.
The Delhi government is funding the project, which has an estimated initial cost of Rs 123 crore.