Below the white colonnaded buildings and radial roads of Connaught Place (CP),two visitors,guided by an NDMC official through a 1.2 km-long tunnel,look up at the multi-coloured pipelines and metal rods occupying half the breadth of the tunnel. We have seen such a sight only in movies, Amit Yadav,who works at a shop in CP,said. Nodding his head,the official replied,I know. Maybe in the Amitabh Bachchan movie Aakhri Raasta?
On Thursday,the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC),as part of its centenary celebration plans,opened to the public a first-of-its-kind underground service tunnel,which runs along the entire length of the Middle Circle. Around 50 metres of the 1.2 km-long tunnel was thrown open to visitors from 11.30 am to 4.30 pm.
According to NDMC officials present inside the tunnel to guide visitors,nearly 600 visitors took the tour on the first day. Most did not know the purpose for which the tunnel has been built. Some expected artifacts to be on display inside. They were surprised by the sight, an official said.
Visitors kept the NDMC officials busy,asking them the function of the pipelines of various colours and metal rods. Raising his voice to make himself audible,an official said,The green pipe is for irrigation,the red one for fire control and the blue one for supplying water.
The metal rods will carry electricity to the entire CP area. Thin pipes flanking the rods will work as sprinklers in case of a fire, the official said.
There are staircases leading out of the tunnel every 25 metres. In case of an emergency,these can be used. We even have sprinkler systems to tackle emergencies, he said.
With a cross-section of 7 metres by 7 metres,the tunnel came up as part of the redevelopment of CP. According to NDMC,the purpose was to have all electricity cables,sewerage lines and other cables in the underground tunnel.