Development in deep freeze, Chandni Chowk a tinderbox

The once glorious old city of Chandni Chowk has been fighting a losing battle to survive in the face of unorganised development.

Several proposed plans to revive its original beauty and upgrade the infrastructure have failed to take off.

The much-touted Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Plan is yet to be implemented and Special Area Regulations, which were to be in place, are missing.

The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment plan, which aimed to give a new lease of life to the Walled City area, has been in the pipeline for over six years now.

While it was reportedly given clearance by the Delhi government in August, it is yet to take off. People here continue to live under dangling wires, crumbling buildings and choked, inaccessible bylanes.

"There should be an emergency disaster management plan for an area like Chandni Chowk. On a given day, there are traffic jams lasting an hour. Any incident like a fire is bound to become a major disaster here. Neither the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Plan nor the Special Area Regulations have been implemented. Wholesale traders were supposed to be shifted out to integrated freight complexes, but nothing has happened under the Master Plan provisions,'' Sanjay Bharghav of Chandni Chowk Traders' Association said.

The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment plan was inaugurated in 2011 by the then Union HRD Minister and local MP Kapil Sibal. But the project got stuck in procedural delays. This plan was supposed to be implemented by Municipal Corporation of Delhi. "The plan is being finalised,'' an MCD official said.

Under the Master Plan, Chandni Chowk comes under 'special area'. According to the Master Plan, the regulations for special area are different from other areas.

Referring specifically to Chandni Chowk, the Master Plan states: "The Plan proposes to regulate and shift noxious and hazardous wholesale traders and industrial activity from this areas.''

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