E-trams, fountains, loading bays, parking for 1,500 vehicles and removal of overhead wires- these are some of features that the one-kilometre stretch from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid is expected to get, as per the redevelopment plan for Chandni Chowk that was inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Friday.
To come up at an estimated cost of Rs 65 crore, Sisodia assured traders that their businesses will not suffer when work on the project commences. This is the first phase of the project, and includes sectioning of roads for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles. “Benches, dustbins and street lighting will be installed. Toilets and drinking water kiosks will be upgraded,” said Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba.
Sisodia said, “We want to ensure that when tourists come to Chandni Chowk, they do not get stuck in traffic… traders too want redevelopment. The project will increase the number of tourists in the area.” Also present at the inauguration were PWD Minister Satyendar Jain and Food Minister Imran Hussain.
Lamba said, “I spoke to several stakeholders — from small to big businessmen, groups associated with temples, churches, mosques and gurudwaras in the areas, and the RWAs — to assure them that redevelopment will boost tourism. Our aim is to complete work on transformers, services, fire hydrants and removal of overhead wires in the next six months.”
The project will also include bicycle parking, rickshaw stands, information kiosks, CCTVs and a new avenue for trees.
Sisodia also evoked the nostalgia associated with Chandni Chowk, saying: “Every student knows of Nai Sarak for books, every household preparing for marriage keeps shopping here a priority, and the fame of Paranthe Waali Gali and Giani’s ice cream needs no introduction. The major re-construction and decongestion work will increase tourism and trade manifold.”
Sanjay Bhargav, President of Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyaapar Mandal, and the petitioner in a case to redevelop Chandni Chowk, said, “There is an NGT order according to which loading and unloading of goods cannot happen between 11 am and 8 pm. That remains, and it’s good if implemented properly. We have been looking forward to this project for a decade now. No one went to the Signature Bridge area earlier, but now that something good has been made, people are flocking there. Same will happen with Chandni Chowk. It’s our heritage after all.”
On e-trams, Lamba said that while the Kolkata model cannot be implemented here as it’s expensive, e-trams will be introduced.
“Just like you have them during the trade fair at Pragati Maidan… e-trams in Chandni Chowk will move from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid both ways,” she said. Funds for this are separate from the Rs 65 crore estimate, she said.