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Monday, September 20, 2021

Delhi: Trader makes Hawa Mahal-like structure in Chandni Chowk, MCD says take it down

Chandni Chowk Hawa Mahal: "The facade is beyond the permissible limit of six inches, so he has been asked to remove the structure,” a senior official of the NDMC said.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
August 4, 2021 7:46:06 pm
chandni chowk hawa mahal delhiThe building, on the 1.3-km pedestrian stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid, was renovated by a Rajasthan-based trader and architect Ankit Keyal. (Express Photo)

A building that looked like Jaipur’s iconic Hawa Mahal has come up in Chandni Chowk, but the trader who made it has now been told by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to dismantle it.

The building, on the 1.3-km pedestrian stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid, was renovated by a Rajasthan-based trader and architect Ankit Keyal.

A senior official of the NDMC said the corporation has asked the owner to dismantle the structure. “It is a new construction. He had asked for repair permission in 2019, which we had given, but not for new construction.”

“Also the facade is beyond the permissible limit of six inches, so he has been asked to remove the structure,” the official said.

Keyal said the structure has been revamped and facade changed, but on the inside there have been no changes other than repair. “Fibre and plaster of paris was used to make it so that it is lightweight and the colour red was chosen so that it matches with the redevelopment plan,” he said, adding that it was inspired from the jharokha of Mehrangarh Fort.

He added that the facade is inside the property’s land and does not encroach upon the road space.

“I could have undertaken the project anywhere else but the reason I started it here is because it would add to the beauty of the area. Most people here, when they renovate, they give it a new look, but I thought it would keep the authenticity of the area alive,” he said.

“I thought that everyone would appreciate it, but now that they have asked me to remove it, I do not want any confrontation. So if they want me to remove it, I will,” he said.

He had invested around Rs 20 lakh in the project.

The property used to house the Chand hotel, and Keyal planned to give it a heritage look and open a garments shop. He said that trained people from Rajasthan were brought to develop the facade and it took two-three months to develop it.

The 1.3-km stretch between the Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid has been turned into a car-free zone, and beautified keeping the Mughal-era architectural style in mind. The mesh of overhead wires has gone underground, red sandstone seats have been placed, and at least 175 red sandstone planters, along with a row of bollards, placed to mimic the Mughal architectural aesthetic.

BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor, who is also a trader in North Delhi, had first tweeted the picture of the building, after which it caught people’s attention. He said, “The North MCD should review its decision and allow it because very few people in the area own the entire building and can provide a good facade like this. We promote wall paintings in different areas, so if someone is coming forward and adding to the beauty, he should be supported.

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