The New Delhi Municipal Council’s (NDMC) plan to redevelop Khan Market could face a deadlock as traders in the market are divided over the renovation plans.
Speaking about the need for Khan Market’s redevelopment, a senior NDMC official said, “The present market has undergone tremendous change in the last decade as the upper residential floors have been converted into commercial entities. This has created a lot of pressure on the existing infrastructure as well as the buildings itself.”
According to NDMC officials, since residential units were converted to commercial ones, mostly restaurants, the buildings in the market are fast becoming “structurally unsafe”. “It would also be difficult to evacuate the buildings in case of a fire/natural calamity owing to the presence of narrow staircases that are unfit for commercial use,” the official said.
Sanjeev Mehra from the Khan Market Traders Association elaborated on the roadblocks that have hit the redevelopment plan.
“There is definitely a safety issue. After 2007, we have seen a lot of residential buildings being commercialised, especially the first and second floors. We had objected to this, demanding that the necessary infrastructure be put in place before people start using this space for commercial purposes,” Mehra said.
He further added that a monitoring committee had been formed by the Supreme Court because “commercial activity was taking place in residential blocks”. “Later on, in 2011, a consultant was also been hired to look into the issue. He had recommended that an elevated walkway be constructed in the middle lane. This was not acceptable to some of us who have shops on the ground floor because it would affect our businesses. We had said that a new plan should be conceptualised. In 2013, an amateur plan was mooted. A walkway was proposed on the second floor, which would connect to the skywalk and it would also be used as a fire escape route. Since then, the plan has just been lingering. But on March 20, 2015, the council approved this plan,” Mehra said.