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Thursday, September 16, 2021

New Chandni Chowk stretch likely to be inaugurated after Independence Day

The 1.3-km stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid was scheduled to be opened by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on April 17 but was cancelled following a spike in Covid cases in the city.

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi |
Updated: August 8, 2021 8:11:10 am
The inauguration date had been earlier fixed for April 17 this year but was canceled due to a rise in Covid cases.

After a four-month delay, Chandni Chowk’s redeveloped stretch is likely to be formally inaugurated in mid-August. According to authorities working on the project, the stretch as well as the scramble crossing in front of the Red Fort are complete.

The 1.3-km stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid was scheduled to be opened by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on April 17 but was cancelled following a spike in Covid cases in the city.

While a final date has not been announced, officials said it is likely to be a few days after Independence Day as the areas will be heavily barricaded around that time. An aerial view of Chandni Chowk is expected to appear on the live telecast of I-Day celebrations at Red Fort.

In a meeting between all stakeholders on July 26, the progress was deemed satisfactory despite numerous setbacks such as the lockdowns and labour shortage owing to the pandemic in both 2020 and 2021.

At the meeting, the transport department was asked to issue an ‘expression of interest’ regarding the operation of vintage-looking electric golf carts that will be used to ferry passengers on the stretch. An official said these carts are expected to have three-four rows of seating.

Further, officials also discussed the redesigning of cycle-rickshaws. IIT-Delhi had submitted two design improvements for 107 rickshaws — these have been granted permission to ply by the commissioner of North MCD to ply on the redeveloped stretch. While authorities intend to redesign the rickshaws by September 30, officials discussed that rickshaw pullers are hesitant to invest in the same.

Final touches

A total of 197 streetlights line the entire stretch and 114 CCTV cameras are being installed. An official said, “Since we have done work on the first few metres of the intersections, we will be installing streetlights there as well. In the arterial roads of Chandni Chowk, 241 streetlights will be installed.”

Horticulture work is more or less complete. Said an official, “Towards the end of the stretch, we are increasing the depth of the soil so that we can plant bigger plants and trees.” This will be done in a few days.

Construction of three toilets has been completed, and the last one is scheduled to be completed by September 15.

The multi-level parking, which is being built by the North MCD and Omaxe, was reviewed by the civic body on August 4. Three underground and two overground floors will accommodate 2,100 cars and 81 tourist buses. In addition, three floors will be dedicated to retail spaces and a food court. The project also proposes a direct entry through the Chandni Chowk Metro station. The parking lot is scheduled for completion by the first quarter of 2022.

Meanwhile, the scramble crossing at Red Fort, which allows pedestrians to cross in all directions including diagonally, has been completed. The purpose of the crossing is to ease pedestrian movement and ensure the theme of the area in front of the monument is in tune with that of a redeveloped Chandni Chowk.

As work on the stretch wraps up, the same agencies are gradually shifting focus to other areas nearby. Drawings for corridor improvement of SPM Marg have been sent to the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) for approval and are being followed up by the Public Works Department (PWD). Meanwhile, a technical bid has been received for consultation of the Jama Masjid precinct redevelopment. A consultant will soon be appointed for the project.

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