TPO opposes south Delhi body’s new headquarters plan

Published on Mar 27, 2019 06:49 AM IST

ITPO says the proposed headquarters is planned near one end of a 1.2km-long tunnel (towards Ring Road) between Purana Qila Road and Ring Road via Pragati Maidan.

The site where new SDMC’s headquarter is proposed at Ring road near Pargati Maidan in New Delhi.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
The site where new SDMC’s headquarter is proposed at Ring road near Pargati Maidan in New Delhi.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRisha Chitlangia

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s (SDMC) plan to construct its headquarters, a 33-storey building, on Ring Road near Pragati Maidan has run into opposition.

India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), which is redeveloping Pragati Maidan, has objected to the plan citing its possible adverse impact on traffic in the neighbourhood and on its Rs 2,700-crore project.

The matter was discussed at a meeting chaired by Union housing and urban affairs secretary Durga Shanker Mishra on March 11. Last month, ITPO chairman and managing director LC Goyal also wrote to the ministry and Delhi Development Authority (DDA), requesting them not to allow the Rs 600-crore project at the location.

The HQ is to come up on an eight-acre plot, earmarked as a ’district park’, on Ring Road near the IP Estate DTC bus depot. The building will come up on five acres and DDA has initiated the process to change its land use from “recreational (district park)” to “government” last year.

A senior Delhi Development Agency official said the land use is yet to be changed.

ITPO says the proposed headquarters is planned near one end of a 1.2km-long tunnel (towards Ring Road) between Purana Qila Road and Ring Road via Pragati Maidan.

Goyal said the SDMC project would “jeopardise” the Pragati Maidan redevelopment project. “The tunnel is the lifeline for Pragati Maidan’s new and old complex, as it is connected to the basement parking lots on both sides and with entry/exit points on Ring Road,” said Goyal.

The tunnel is being constructed by the Delhi government’s public works department (PWD) to decongest Mathura Road as part of the Pragati Maidan revamp project. PWD officials say the tunnel work is in an advanced stage and is expected to be completed by September.

Goyal added, “The proposed SDMC building will create traffic conflict zones at the entry/exit points of the tunnel on Ring Road, which will result in a traffic pile-up and a chaotic situation in the tunnel and beyond...This will directly impact and jeopardise the ITPO project and nullify the benefits of the traffic decongestion interventions.”

A senior HUA ministry official said the matter related to the SDMC project and proposed land use change is “under process”.

ITPO has been raising objections since last year. While a final decision on the project is yet to be taken, the SDMC has roped in NBCC India—also the consultant for the Pragati Maidan revamp—for the headquarters-cum-commercial complex project. It is learnt NBCC had floated tenders for the project last year and submitted a detailed project report and drawing to all the statutory bodies for approval.

The south corporation’s headquarters is now housed at the SP Mukherjee Civic Centre near Ramlila Grounds. SDMC officials say they need a new building as the Civic Centre belongs to the north corporation.

South Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor Narendra Chawla said, “The project site is earmarked as a green area. But the process to change the land use has been initiated. The ministry is looking into the land use change. We have decided to name the building after Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. We roped in NBCC India, which has awarded the work to a contractor.”

Traffic mess around Pragati Maidan

The ?923-crore Integrated Transit Corridor Development Plan along Mathura Road was approved by the ministry in 2016 for the smooth movement of traffic around Pragati Maidan. The tunnel is an integral part of the project and will make travel to India Gate and central Delhi from Noida, Ghaziabad and east Delhi smooth.

With the busy ITO crossing nearby, the traffic volume in the area varies between 1.5 lakh passenger car units (PSU) and 2.5 lakh PCUs per day.

Referring to the chaotic traffic situation in the area, Goyal said, “No project/structure should be allowed in the area because it will result in additional traffic load. The area should be retained as a district park. I have requested the ministry not to allow the project at this location in the larger public interest and to avoid traffic nightmare.”

Transport planning and road safety experts warn against traffic conflict at the entry/exit points of the tunnel.

Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning, School of Planning and Architecture, said, “The entry of the proposed building shouldn’t be on Ring Road, as the tunnel opens there and it might create a traffic conflict zone. As it is a public building, there is bound to be heavy pedestrian movement and adequate arrangements have to be made on Ring Road so that traffic doesn’t get disrupted. There should be a detailed traffic impact assessment study before planning any new structure in the area, which already faces traffic issues.”

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