Decks have finally been cleared for the redevelopment of the historic Jama Masjid.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Monday informed the Delhi High Court that they have secured the requisite clearance from the Delhi Urban Arts Commission and Archeological Survey of India.
Work could not begin earlier due to the delay in getting the nod from these agencies. The court had approved all plans and estimated cost for the work, way back on Oct 6, 2006.
Apart from restoration and beautification of the 17th century Mughal monument, the restoration plan included constructing a huge basement-level mall in the forecourt of the mosque with provision for 3,000 shops and a three-level underground parking beneath it.
Much of that original plan has been done away with as both DUAC and ASI insisted on minimum intervention in the sensitive zone to preserve its historical glory.
According to sources, the DUAC has approved the overall plan based on the condition that MCD come back to them to get separate clearances for each component of the plan.
Several rounds of checks and modifications were necessitated as PIL petitioner lawyer Usha Kumar, representing the non-profit Heritage and Cultural Forum, argued that the MCD "was now only concerned about the surroundings and commercialization of the mosque while the main task entrusted to them was to restore the mughal monument.”
Another petitioner Varun Goswami had argued that there was already a plan approved by the court in October 2006.
"But the MCD came up with a drastically altered plan with 3,000 shops without the approval of the court which means it is completely illegal."