North MCD to pass a proposal for legal tag to makeshift temple in Chandni Chowk
North Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor Jai Prakash on Monday directed civic officials to draft a proposal within two days to grant legal status to a makeshift structure that has come up near the site of a Hanuman temple in Chandni Chowk demolished by the North civic body on January 3 on the orders of the Delhi high court.
The makeshift structure came up on the central verge of the Chandni Chowk main road, which has been redeveloped into a pedestrian-only zone as part of a project to decongest and beautify the Mughal-era market. The temple was demolished as it fell in the course of the redevelopment work. The demolition kicked off a row with both the AAP and BJP blaming each other for not taking steps to what they claimed was a 100-year-old structure. It was yet to be known who built the makeshift structure.
Mayor Jai Prakash has also called an all-party meeting to “achieve a consensus” on the issue and then pass the proposal in its House meeting on Thursday, called specifically to discuss the matter.
Prakash said officials informed the political executive that the temple can be granted a legal status provided it is approved by the city government and its religious committee. “So, we have now directed the legal and land & building departments officials to draft a proposal or a document of support for the temple within two days and it will be passed in the house meeting of north corporation on Thursday. We have also invited councillors of all parties for a meeting on Tuesday so that a consensus can be reached on legalising the temple construction. Since all party leaders have offered prayers at the new structure, it should not be a problem for them to support the cause,” the mayor said.
Civic officials said once passed by the House, the proposal will be sent to the Delhi government’s religious committee and urban development department for approval. Once approved, the temple will be granted a legal status.
On Saturday, the Public Works Department (PWD) wrote to the Delhi police asking them to take action against the construction. The PWD mentioned that the structure came up without any permission from any of the agencies executing the Chandni Chowk redevelopment project.
Prakash said the makeshift temple did not encroach upon the road as it was located on the central verge. “Keeping sentiments of thousands of people in the area, we request the religious committee to consider the proposal,” he said.
Leader of opposition in north corporation and Aam Aadmi Party councillor, Vikas Goel, said the Hanuman temple should not have been demolished in the first place, but the civic body demolished the temple. “Now, they are doing drama over the issue. We have always been in favour of the temple as we respect sentiments of the public. We will attend the all-party meeting tomorrow (Tuesday),” Goel said.
The Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) requested chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to direct the PWD to withdraw its complaint from the police. Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor wrote to the CM on Sunday, requesting him to take back the complaint and also direct the Delhi government’s religious committee to review and approve the new temple and make it part of the beautification plan.
In last three days, leaders of all the three political parties have visited the makeshift temple in Chandni Chowk and offered prayers, performed hawan and chanted religious hymns such as Hanuman Chalisa and Sundar Kand.