It is often said the Metro has changed the way Delhi travels. In Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone — a VIP area, construction work for the Metro has changed the way to travel. There are detours to be taken and roads to be avoided while you negotiate the tree-lined avenues of New Delhi to reach your destination.
Certain roads in this VIP area are witnessing some changes to make way for the Airport Express line and the Central Secretariat-Gurgaon line of the Metro. June, 2010, is the deadline for both the lines.
While changes like traffic diversions are temporary inconveniences, some other changes like felling/transplantation of trees on the broad avenues are surely a reason for heartburn for the tree lovers.
Traffic-related changes have been done on a step-by-step basis. “At times, we went ahead with measures that would cause the least inconvenience to commuters by going against the Metro consultant,” said DCP (Traffic), New Delhi Range, Suvashish Chowdhary.
Some traffic diversions were effected months ago, but most of them are recent additions. “The latest change is the one-way stretch between RML roundabout and the GPO. Weeks of trial runs at peak and non-peak hours are held. We give a go-ahead only after we are fully satisfied because the changes would remain effective for a long period,” said Chowdhary.
Heartburn over trees
Going by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) history, the roundabouts are restored when work on the particular stretch is over. “We restore the roundabout and, in fact, give a better one. This includes ornamental plantation, parapet wall around the rotary, earth fill, grass and plantation that complement the surrounding trees and shrubs,” DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal said. Beautiful tree-lined avenues are special characteristics of the Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone. Most of them are more than 50 years old.
Wary about what happened on Barakhamba Road — a large number of trees were cut, but only a few are re-planted — during Metro construction, the New Delhi Municipal Corporation’s Horticulture Department officials said that their concern was that re-plantation is done also on the stretches where the trees are cut.”
The DMRC said it has been able to save a lot of trees. “As many as 137 trees that were more than 50 years old were transplanted on Motilal Nehru Marg. On the Race Course road, we were able to save 15 trees,” Dayal said.
The best thing has been achieved on Baba Kharak Singh Marg between the GPO and the RML roundabout, he said. “Trees on one side of the road have been left untouched and the trees on the other side have been converted into a median by barricading the entire row,” he said.
Republic Day Parade
An important event in the Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone is the prestigious Republic Day Parade.
The parade that passes through Rajpath touches Rafi Marg. While a small portion of Rajpath (about 30 metres from the intersection) is being used during construction and would be free by December 2008, Rafi Marg is likely to be restored by September 2009.
“We are aware of the importance attached to the parade. We would coordinate with the authorities and changes could be made as per requirement,” Dayal said.