The Delhi Metro has started demolition work near Mandi House Metro station for its proposed line connecting Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate even though the National Monument Authority (NMA) is yet to give it a clearance.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has put up barricades around the National School of Drama (NSD) building and started pulling down a structure inside the NSD compound.
Mandi House station is near ASI-protected Uggar Sain Ki Baoli, a centuries old step well. DMRC plans to develop Mandi House station as an interchange station between the existing and the proposed line.
The proposed line, running through a number of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected monuments, would connect Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate via Janpath, Mandi House, ITO, Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and Red Fort.
The proposal is pending with the NMA, which bans any construction within 100 metres of an ASI-protected monument and puts several restrictions for further 200 metres.
While the Mandi House station is more than 300 metres away from the Uggar Sain Ki Baoli, portions of the tunnel joining the Janpath station with the Mandi House station would come within 300 metres of it.
“If the work falls within 300 metres, the ASI can go to the extent of approaching the court to get a stay on the work. If not, then it is for the state government (read: civic agency) to decide,” said BR Mani, spokesperson, ASI.
But the DMRC has neither applied to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) nor to the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC). “The Metro has not yet approached us. The proposal goes to the DUAC only through us,” NDMC officials said.
However, DMRC denied starting any actual work. “Some temporary structures are being demolished as part of preparatory work, for which DUAC or NMA approval is not required. (Moreover), Bahawalpur House is not being touched,” said a Delhi Metro spokesperson.