‘Speedy’ road repair kicks off tussle between Delhi resident, MCD

  • Manjeet Singh Chugh, in a PIL filed in the Delhi high court on April 5 claimed that the road, Bharat Scouts and Guides Marg, was recarpeted within “four days” in February this year because there was a “marriage function of a high dignitary in BSF Club” and “VIP movement” was expected.
A road leading to Sunder Nursery, in New Delhi, India, on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times)
A road leading to Sunder Nursery, in New Delhi, India, on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times)
Published on May 29, 2022 03:35 AM IST
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ByRisha Chitlangia, New Delhi

A kilometre-long stretch that connects Sabz Burj and BSF Club near Sunder Nursery in south Delhi’s Nizamuddin is at the heart of a legal tussle between a Delhi resident — who has demanded that roads in his neighbourhood (Kotla Mubarakpur) be recarpeted — and the erstwhile South Delhi Municipal Corporation (now subsumed under the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi, or MCD).

Manjeet Singh Chugh, in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Delhi high court on April 5 claimed that the road, Bharat Scouts and Guides Marg, was recarpeted within “four days” in February this year because there was a “marriage function of a high dignitary in BSF Club” and “VIP movement” was expected.

The matter will be heard in the high court on May 30.

Senior MCD officials clarified that work was taken up because of the importance of the stretch, which passes by Humayun’s Tomb, Sunder Nursery and other institutions and religious places.

Nearly 150,000 visit Humayun’s Tomb and Sunder Nursery every month, said a municipal official.

A senior MCD official said recarpeting and other work on the road was undertaken by the erstwhile SDMC on the “request of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)”.

The official said 70 lakh was spent on the project, the bids for which were invited on February 14, 2022. Work orders were issued on February 18 and 19.

In the petition, Chugh, who is also president of the Gurudwara Shri Singh Sabha in Kotla Mubarakpur, urged the high court to direct the civic agency to relay the “pathetic” roads in Kotla Mubarakpur in the “same manner” and of the “same quality” as the road constructed in Nizamuddin.

“The said road was laid within four days as there was a marriage function of a high dignitary in BSF Club/Camp,” the plea said.

Speaking to HT, Chugh said, “Civic agencies always cite fund crunch when it comes to repairing colony roads and the tendering process often takes months. It is shocking to see how promptly the civic body acted in fixing the road in Nizamuddin for the VIP event.”

When contacted, the BSF spokesperson didn’t comment about the event. BSF also didn’t share the list of events held at the club in the month of February.

A senior municipal official said that the road is under the civic agency’s jurisdiction and was constructed two decades ago.

“It was in a dilapidated condition due to non-maintenance on a regular basis. There was a serious problem of water accumulation during the last rains and the surface deteriorated further. Considering the importance of the road, a proposal for recarpeting and other miscellaneous repair works was prepared at the request of ASI,” said a municipal official.

An ASI official said, “The road doesn’t belong to us.”

A senior civic official said, “The area surrounding the monuments, including this road, falls within the domain of SDMC/MCD.”

Congress leader Yasmin Kidwai, who was the councillor from Nizamuddin, till the terms of Delhi’s three erstwhile civic bodies elapsed earlier this month, said, “The road had been due a repair for a very long time, even before my term started in 2017. We have been pursuing the matter with the civic agency for years. The road is used by a lot of people who visit the Gurdwara, Sunder Nursery and other organisations that have offices here. People are very glad the road has been repaired.”

Chugh said the roads in Kotla Mubarakpur, especially on the 1.5km-long Gurudwara Road, are in a “pathetic condition”.

Chugh said, “There are thousands of shops here and we all pay MCD taxes. But roads in our area have not been recarpeted in 7-12 years... Our requests to improve the roads have fallen on deaf ears.”

Civic officials refuted this and said the SDMC had started repairs in Kotla Mubarakpur.

“SDMC has taken up patch repair of Gurdwara Road and another road in Kotla Mubarakpur near the police station (Shri Krishna Sharma Marg) in the recent past... at a contractual cost of 9 lakh.”

Two work orders for the “dense carpeting” of bituminous roads in South Extension parts 1 and 2 for 76.62 lakh are in the process of being awarded, the official said, adding that work is likely to be taken up in the next 15 days.

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