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Bulldozers at Delhi?s hautest address

DELHI?S MOST glamorous designer hub ? MG 1 ? has been erased off the address book. On Wednesday, an MCD squad started demolishing the building, situated in New Manglapuri village on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, amid shrill protests from fashion designers.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 12:12 IST

DELHI’S MOST glamorous designer hub — MG 1 — has been erased off the address book. On Wednesday, an MCD squad started demolishing the building, situated in New Manglapuri village on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, amid shrill protests from fashion designers.

On Wednesday morning, bulldozers razed its facade, marking the end of a mall that did business to the tune of over Rs 15 crore a month.

MG 1 housed 65 designer outlets belonging to famous fashion industry names like Rohit Bal, Rina Dhaka and Suneet Varma. The MCD’s next stop in its demolition drive on unauthorised constructions will be MG 2. Situated on the same road, MG 2 has 79 designer outlets.

Emotional scenes were witnessed outside MG 1 when the demolition squad started work. “Why was the building allowed to come up in the first place if it’s illegal? How can they play with our livelihood,” said Aruna Sharma, Rohit Bal’s sister.

Rajeev Mehra, who deals in designer jewellery, said, “We never imagined this would happen. Whenever we inquired from the builder about the legal status of the building, he assured us that there was nothing amiss.”

Vandini Sawhney, who ran an interior outlet, said, “The showroom has been targeted because it’s a Page 3-type place — the media never gets tired of talking about our glamorous lifestyle. Why didn’t the MCD demolish illegal constructions in the CM’s house first?”

Designer Vijay Bhalla said the industry had been ill-treated. “The fashion industry has given a name to the country. Is this what we get in return?”

Designer Suneet Varma said it was ironical that on the one hand, the government had decided to open up FDI in retail in India and on the other, it decided to shatter the business of Indian designers.

“The whole system is corrupt and prone to bribes and where is our fault in this? We are suffering now and who will I turn to for compensation?”

By 3 a.m., the designers had wrapped up their belongings and stood outside the forlorn mall, staring at the structure with tearful eyes.

MCD officials said they were following court orders. A senior MCD official said they started with MG 1 because it had become “a symbol of the builder mafia in lal dora land”.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Wednesday called upon all builders to provide details of construction activity undertaken by them in the city since December 31, 2000 onwards. The builders have been asked to submit the details to the zonal offices of the MCD by February 10.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 12:12 IST