New footover bridge to be constructed in place of the old ‘lohe ka pul’
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator from Chandni Chowk Parlad Singh Sawhney said the proposal to construct a new footover bridge on the same location has been sent to the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) and the “overbridge is likely to be constructed latest by March next year”.Updated: Aug 04, 2020 00:39 IST
A new footover bridge may come up on the Brijmohan Chowk on Netaji Subhash Marg in place of the heritage ‘lohe ka pul’ (iron bridge) that was dismantled in 2011. The 48-year-old bridge, which connected the Jama Masjid side with Ansari Road, was built in 1963.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator from Chandni Chowk Parlad Singh Sawhney said the proposal to construct a new footover bridge on the same location has been sent to the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) and the “overbridge is likely to be constructed latest by March next year”.
“Ever since the old footover bridge has been dismantled, pedestrians in the area face difficulties in crossing the busy road. Netaji Subhash Chandra Marg is a busy road and specially during peak rush hours, it becomes an uphill task for those on foot to cross the road,” said Sawhney.
The five-time MLA from the constituency said he had also discussed the possibility constructing a footover bridge on the same location and the “department agreed with the proposal”.
The proposal was sent to the PWD but financial clearance for it got stuck after the Covid-19 outbreak in the national capital. A senior PWD official said he can only comment on the plan after the project gets financial sanction.
Senior officials of the Delhi traffic police said with the Chandni Chowk main road being redeveloped, the need for pedestrian facility on Netaji Subhash Chandra Marg will be imperative.
“We have discussed the possibility of a pedestrian facility on the stretch. After the pedestrianisation plan comes into force, there could be a new traffic movement plan for the entire stretch. However, we are yet to receive a formal clearance request from the PWD for the construction of such a facility,” a senior traffic official said.
Old-timers in the area recall that the bridge was originally built on the road to help kids from two orphanages—Arya Orphanage and Bacchon ka Ghar—to reach their schools on either sides of the road. In 2011, however, the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had dismantled the iron structure after it was deemed ‘dangerous’ for public use because of its decrepit condition.
A report of the footover bridge’s dismantling, submitted before the house back then, read that the railings of the old bridge was in “dangerous state” and “portions of the staircase had worn out”. Apart from this, the bridge had also become a hub for anti-social elements, who would camp over and under it, making it unsafe for general public.
As per the PWD’s initial proposal for the bridge, which is likely to cost between R2-3 crores, elevators would be provided on both sides of the road, escalators, and disabled-friendly ramps would also be made.
The residents of the area, however, are divided over the plan. While some are excited to get a safe facility for pedestrians, others are wary that it will once again see the fate of the old iron bridge, which was under maintained and became a spot for petty crimes.
Mohammad Sohail, one of the owners of ‘Jahangeer Foods’, which was among the first shops to be set up under this bridge, said that the family was relieved when the footover bridge was finally removed.
“It was in such a bad condition. People would urinate on the sides and drug addicts would camp over it. Regular pedestrians were barely using it. It was a blessing that it was removed,” Sohail said.
Sixty nine-year-old Abdul Rehman, who used to run a tyre repair shop under the bridge, however, said that the stretch needed a footover bridge because of the chaotic traffic.
“This road is not safe for pedestrians. Even when the traffic signal goes red, vehicles charge at you, without giving you any time to cross the street. Crossing the road is like risking your life every day. A footover bridge will also ease the crowd here,” Rehman said.