Jama Masjid area awaits facelift as Delhi officials sit on plans
The Jama Masjid precinct redevelopment plan has hit a roadblock again as the Delhi government failed to hold consultations with stakeholders on plans for giving a facelift to the Mughal era mosque’s surroundings.
A senior Delhi government official, privy to the development, said the proposal is stuck as the central district had not a convened a single meeting with civic agencies and other stakeholders, including shopkeepers of Meena Bazaar and traders of the area, in last four months.
“There has been no development in the matter for months,” the official said.
In November, the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) — entrusted with the responsibility of revamping the Walled City — forwarded two plans for Jama Masjid’s surroundings, prepared by noted architect Pradeep Sachdeva and the corporation itself, to the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) for review and comments. This was done after Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal issued directions to expedite the project.
Sachdeva’s plan proposes the restoration of the foreground into a pedestrian plaza with gardens all the way from Shahi Darwaza to Netaji Subhash Marg, and the relocation of Meena Bazaar.
However, the SRDC’s design says the market should not be moved.
The SPA, in response, called for consultations with all civic agencies and major stakeholders to pick a feasible plan. It also suggested an impact assessment study on the people living and running businesses in the mosque’s vicinity.
An official of the central district said transfer of senior officials had caused the delay and, soon, a meeting with be held.
“The project will take time to reach a consensus after consultations with all parties likely to be affected by the relocation of Meena Bazaar. An initial meeting was held but the matter requires more deliberation,” he said.
However, Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba blamed officials for the protracted delay and sought the transformation of SRDC into a municipal body for revamping Shahjahanabad.
“Unwanted people have been made stakeholders. They have nothing to do with the project. In fact, officials are misleading the court. Unless the SRDC is transformed into an independent civic body and given powers of a municipal corporation, no plan will be successful,” Lamba, who is also a director of the SRDC board, said.
The redevelopment of the Jama Masjid precinct is stuck since 2004 when the issue of degradation of the mosque and its neighbourhood, spread over about 12.7 hectares, was first flagged by a public interest litigation.
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