Urinals, transformers etc., proposed to be on the central verge
The Central Vista along the central median of Delhi's Chandni Chowk, running from east to west linking the Red Fort with the Fatehpuri Masjid, once had a channel of water running through it. The reflection of moonlight in this channel gave the place the epithet Chandni Chowk ("moonlit square").
This central verge might soon be occupied with urinals, transformers and police booths as part of the Chandni Chowk Redevelopment Plan which kickstarted last year end and has forced four conservation architects and urban planners to move the Delhi High Court to preserve, what they call, a quintessential part of the old city of Shahjahanabad (present-day Old Delhi).
On Wednesday, Justice S Muralidhar asked the four petitioners—conservation architect Smita Datta Makhija, renowned urban planner and former INTACH convenor AG Krishna Menon, Ashok B Lall and Sujata Kohli—to make a representation before a committee comprising various agencies such as PWD, DUAC, ASI and nodal officer Nitin Panigrahi at its next meeting which should be held before March 5.
Justice Muralidhar also issued notice on their intervention application filed by Chambers of Anish Dayal through advocates Siddharth Vaid and Rupam Sharma, wherein they have sought intervention in the case titled Manushi Sangthan v GNCTD & Ors dealing with the creation of lanes for rickshaws and licencing of rickshaw-pullers as a part of Chandni Chowk redevelopment.
The petitioners were forced to move the intervention application after coming across news articles which reported that as part of the re-development, utility services like urinals, water ATMs, transformers and police booths will be shifted to the central verge of Chandni Chowk.
"It has come to the knowledge of the Applicant that the proposal/plan submitted by the Architects commissioned by the authorities (viz. Pradeep Sachdeva Design Associates) suggests that all 23 transformers (3.5 X 4.5 meters each) along with 6 toilets (3.5 x 11.2 meters each), 3 urinal blocks (3.5 x 4.8 meters each), 3 police booths (3.5 x 2.4 meters each), 2 police posts (3.5 x 9.2 meters each) and 2 traffic police booths (3.5 x 2.4 meters each) are to be re-located to the vista along the central median of the Chandni Chowk.
"The visualization of this scheme on the website of SRDC (Shahjanabad Re-development Corporation) is misleading in so far as it fails to depict the scale of visual obstructions in the vista along the central median which links the Red Fort with the Fatehpuri Masjid central section by the purported re-location of the above-mentioned utility services," says the petition.