After the fire at Bhagirath Place in Chandni Chowk spread on Friday, North Delhi Municipal commissioner PK Gupta, mayor Mira Aggarwal and leader of the House Mahender Nagpal visited the area in the afternoon to take stock of the situation.
Both the Delhi government and the north corporation have received flak as both have failed to implement the Chandni Chowk redevelopment plan. The plan was to be funded by the Delhi government and carried out by the civic body. It was announced in 2005, but has been on the back burner since then.
Chandni Chowk traders said the fire could have been avoided if the wires had been taken underground - a part of the plan.
"The project was inaugurated twice - once by the CM and the second time by Union minister Kapil Sibal but is yet to see the light of day. We are sitting on a time bomb which can go off any time," said Sanjay Bhargava, general secretary, Chandni Chowk Sarv Vypar Mandal.
In the first phase, roads such as Main Chandni Chowk road, Khari Baoli, Naya Bazar, Church Mission road, Esplanade Road, Nai Sarak, Dariba Kalan, Jama Masjid, etc, were to be freed of overhead wires. In the second phase, the market was to be de-congested by restricting the entry of vehicles.
The process of passing the buck has begun. "We've not been able to start the project because the Delhi government has not given us funds," said Nagpal.
Commenting on the fire, senior officials said that they would demolish Bhagirath Place whenever given directions. "So far, the corporation has not received any such directions but if fire officials term the building dangerous, we will act accordingly," said a senior official of north corporation.
'Hauz Qazi needs a fire station'
Youth Service Mission, an NGO, and traders of Hauz Qazi have alleged that their demands of a fire station and disaster management centre next to the police station have fallen on deaf ears. "The market is very congested. It deals in paper, chemicals, and hardware. Many fire incidents have already taken place," said M Nafis of the NGO.