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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Transformers okayed on central verge in Chandni Chowk

A total of 18 out of 19 transformers will now be placed on the central verge. The L-G was informed that the first 800-metre stretch of the road, from Red Fort, will be free of any transformer.

delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2019 05:09 IST

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A view of ongoing of Chandni Chowk.
A view of ongoing of Chandni Chowk.(Sanchit Khanna/ Hindustan Times)
         

Laying to rest the dispute over the placement of transformers on the central verge of the Chandni Chowk road, Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal, on Friday, approved the recommendations made by the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC).

A total of 18 out of 19 transformers will now be placed on the central verge. The L-G was informed that the first 800-metre stretch of the road, from Red Fort, will be free of any transformer. The transformer, which was earlier planned to be situated opposite Dariba Kalan, has now been shifted to Esplanade Road.

The last transformer on the central verge will be placed 110 metres away from Fatehpuri Mosque. The meeting’s decision will be communicated to the Delhi High Court on September 2.

Earlier this year, the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) had raised objections to the SRDC’s decision to place public utilities, including toilets, transformers and police posts on the central verge of Chandni Chowk, and had accordingly submitted a report to the L-G, proposing relocating these utilities on either side of the 1.5 km road between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid.

“The proposed utilities on the central verge will create a continuous trail of visual as well as physical obstruction. A linear succession of transformers will mar the aesthetics of the historic street and block pedestrians’ vision,” the DUAC had stated in its 17-page report.

Taking note of the objections raised, the Delhi High Court had asked the L-G to look into the matter and decide accordingly.

SRDC officials had, in their last board meeting, held on August 7, taken note of the technical advice from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Delhi Fire Services (DFS), which recommended not placing transformers on the footpath since they would have an adverse effect on public safety.

Local traders too raised objections to the shifting of transformers to footpaths since they would hinder pedestrian movement. “Earlier, all these structures, such as toilets, transformers, and police booths were termed encroachments. They have to be removed from the footpath as per Supreme Court orders,” Sanjay Bhargava, president of Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, said.

However, it has been decided that the toilets and police posts will be removed from the central median.

Conservationist and urban designer AGK Menon, who was one of the four petitioners to the High Court, expressed his disappointment with the L-G’s decision and said that this might have an adverse impact on the proposition being made to declare old Delhi a World Heritage Site. “We do not want the transformers on the central verge since it is a historic avenue,” he said.

Officials from the DUAC could not be reached for a comment on the L-G’s decision.

The Chandni Chowk redevelopment project has been ongoing since December 2018 and is expected to be completed by March 2020.

First Published: Aug 23, 2019 21:54 IST

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