Experts have criticised the New Delhi Municipal Council’s (NDMC) application to increase the height of the commercial wing of the proposed multi-level parking off Kasturba Gandhi Marg, which they claimed will only add to the congestion in the area.
The National Monument Authority (NMA) in February had cleared the project by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), putting a height restriction of 21 metres for the commercial wing and allowing the parking block building to go up to 38 metres, as applied for. Citing commercial viability as a reason, the NDMC has applied for a re-consideration.
The NDMC has been propagating the multi-level parking project, proposed to come up on a large vacant plot of land between the high rises of Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Barakhamba Road, as “much needed” to ease the parking problem of the business district.
“The way the project has been conceived is wrong. The NDMC is just making it worse by asking for higher commercial towers. More commercial space means more congestion and additional burden on resources,” said an urban planner.
As per NDMC’s original proposal, it was to be executed on a BOT basis under the public private partnership (PPP) model allowing the private concessionaire commercial use of partial space. The parking area would hold approximately 1,500-1,600 cars while an area of about 6,000-odd sq metres space above ground would be developed as commercial space.
Kasturba Gandhi Marg and Barakhamba Road, two of the important radials of the Connaught Place, are an important part of what is known as the Central Business District (CBD) right in the heart of the city. Thousands of commuters, officer goers and shoppers and cars throng the place daily.
“Stakeholders should consider the ground situation. Bylanes around KG Marg, Barakhamba Road and Tolstoy Marg are already clogged. There is no scope for further commercialisation,” said an urban affairs expert.
Prof KT Ravindran, former chairperson of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), said, “Shops or offices would bring in more traffic to the area and ultimately increase parking problems.”
During his tenure at the DUAC, his team had considered the NDMC’s proposal and categorically suggested a food court like activity instead of shops or office space (proposed above ground).