The Delhi High Court has asked the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to file a status report on the construction of a multi-level underground parking at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib, which is a listed heritage structure.
The court’s directive came after a petition was filed by Sikh Forum for Service and Justice (SFSJ), which pointed out that the work was going on without permission. The NDMC had rejected the plan in 2011 and in January had asked the gurdwara management not to start work without permission.
Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, on Pandit Pant Marg, is just metres away from the Parliament and the President’s Estate. The gurdwara, an architectural value grade III building, figures in the notified list of heritage structures.
It is the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which has proposed the three-level underground parking at the gurdwara. But the NDMC letter, of which HT has a copy, to Paramjit Sarna, DSGMC president, had mentioned as many as 23 reasons for rejecting the plan for the underground parking. One of the reasons was no security clearance from the Delhi Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Apart from this, the letter pointed out how the proposed basement area is five times the permissible area as per the Master Plan 2021, that the proposed parking area is way too extra than what is required as per FAR and there is no NOC, either from the Heritage Conservation Committee or the Delhi Urban Arts Committee (DUAC), among others reasons.
“There is no need at all for such a huge parking,” said SFSJ’s Gurbaksh Singh, on whose petition Justice Vipin Sanghi asked for a status report.
Charanjeet Singh from the Sikh Forum and Group of Concerned Sikhs, who helped Gurbaksh Singh for the petition, said, “They have also not taken permission for cutting trees at the site.” Sarna claimed, “We had submitted the plans after a settlement with the government. Several months ago, Delhi’s chief secretary and then NDMC chairperson had promised to clear our project in two weeks.”
“We will listen only to our Prime Minister or the Chief Minister. We are not going to abide by NDMC restriction,” Sarna added.