Chandni Chowk project: Delhi HC asks stakeholders to conduct inspection of alternative sites for 18 transformers
The Delhi High Court on Monday asked all the stakeholders in the Chandni Chowk redevelopment project to conduct an inspection of the alternative sites for the relocation of 18 transformers. The order was passed after objections were raised on the location and type of the transformers that have been installed on the central verge of the 1.5-km stretch.
A bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh permitted the applicants to conduct the inspection of the places where the transformers could be relocated after senior advocate Vibha Datta Makhija told the court that they had suggested alternate places for the transformers.
On July 23, the high court had directed Delhi’s lieutenant governor to decide on the issue of placement of transformers after three architects had moved an impleadment application contending that the heritage look of the place will be compromised if the transformers are installed on the central verge.
Following this, the Delhi L-G had ordered a joint inspection of the site by all stakeholders based on which the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) had submitted its detailed report suggesting alternate sites for the transformers.
In a meeting on August 23, chaired by Delhi L-G, it was decided that a total of 18 out of 19 transformers will remain on the central verge. The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC), which is executing the project, informed the L-G that the first 800 metres of the road, from Red Fort, will be free of any transformer.
A status report in this regard was submitted to the high court on Monday.
During the proceedings, Makhija, appearing for the architects, informed the court that the oil transformers are unsafe as they catch fire and hence dry transformers have to be installed. Explaining the difference between the two types of transformers, the senior advocate told the court that in case of a fire in the dry transformers, it would not spread in the surrounding areas.
She said that they had already given a map to the authorities where the alternative site for the installation of the transformers has been mentioned. She sought time for an inspection so that the alternative sites could be explored. The counsel appearing for the DUAC also said that it would want to conduct an independent inspection of the sites on the basis of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
However, the SRDC told the court that the possibility of locating vacant land for the relocation of the transformers is not feasible.
Following this, the court directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to assign an engineer who would accompany the stakeholders to conduct the inspection on September 5 by 11 am. The matter would be now heard on October 16.
“The judge clearly said that you cannot treat this area in the same way as the Old Fort, Qutub Minar. It is a different area and has to be seen in a different perspective. He outrightly rejected the demand for a stay on the work,” said Sanjay Bhargava, president of Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal.