The Hanuman temple at Chandni Chowk was demolished early Sunday morning, in compliance with an order passed by the Delhi High Court.
“As soon as the North MCD dismantled the mandir around 7 am, we made a concrete pathway where it stood,” said a PWD official. The temple is located in the middle of the road between Town Hall and Gurdwara Sis Ganj.
The issue was first addressed by the Delhi High Court in 2015, when it was hearing a matter on unauthorised religious structures. After a long litigation, wherein the North MCD approached the Supreme Court and was asked to remove the structure with support from the Delhi government, it was decided by the Committee on Removal of Encroachments in the form of Religious Structures that the temple would be made part of the redevelopment.
Agencies working on the ground, however, said this can’t be done in a feasible manner. The court then directed authorities, including Delhi government, to discharge its constitutional and statutory duties. In December, the North MCD had told the court that it will carry out its orders.
AAP and Delhi BJP traded charges. AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said the BJP-run North MCD had told the court it would carry out the demolition. BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor, however, said Delhi government was responsible for the demolition, since it did not agree to making the temple part of the redevelopment.
The PWD official, meanwhile, said the central verge is nearly complete. What remains to be done is setting granite on the stretch and putting up bollards and stone planters.
However, there are a few other setbacks to the project. “Setting up electric poles, with lamps and CCTVs, will take a few more days as material for the poles, which comes from Rajasthan and Haryana, is stuck due to protests at the border. We expect it to reach by January 15,” said the official. As many as 157 electric poles will be set up on the central verge.
Officials said work on the stretch, which was supposed to be completed by the end of 2020, may now stretch to January end.
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