Connaught Place (CP) may acquire a semblance of sanity during the Commonwealth Games but will be dug up again and stay out of bounds for more than a year after the international sporting event ends on October 13, a senior official of the civic body carrying out renovation in the area has said.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has already missed four deadlines and hopes to complete the ongoing work by September 15 — almost a month after August 31, its last deadline.
"After the Games, we will start work within a month's time," NDMC spokesman Anand Tiwari said. What's alarming is fresh construction in the 75-year-old central business district that has worn a war-ravaged look for the last 14 months will end only by December 2011.
Roads and footpaths that are being constructed now will become casualties again when the civic agency begins constructing eight new subways in the outer circle, a service corridor in the middle circle and installs a district cooling system — water-based central air conditioning — in the area.
With cranes and bulldozers more visible than shoppers and tourists and heaps of construction material choking the Inner and Outer Circles, sales have dipped by 60 to 80 per cent.
"The building occupancy in middle circle has come down to 40 per cent. The entire middle circle has become unreachable and many tenants have moved out," said president of New Delhi traders' body Atul Bhargava.
If construction continues for another year, even the traders will have to move out, he warned.
"Instead of restricting themselves to façade restoration, an over-ambitious NDMC took up the task of constructing eight new subways apart from renovating five existing ones," Mohinder Kumar Singh, an inner circle shopkeeper, said.