As part of a beautification drive in Old Delhi ahead of the ASEAN summit in the national capital, overhead cables are being put underground and shops have been advised to sport an aesthetic look with uniform display boards. A top official of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) said some of the shops in Chandni Chowk have already changed the name display boards to the new prescribed format.
Since it is a heritage zone of the city, haphazard sign boards have marred the look of the area. And, ahead of the summit, the civic body has started a beautification drive, starting with Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk areas. “And, having a uniform board for all shops will enhance the look and feel of the area. So, we have asked them to put up a standard-sized board for shops (maximum size of 2.5 sqm). As per colour, we have prescribed a white background and some are putting texts in pink or in blue.
“Idea is to have a uniform size. We don’t have a law to enforce one colour. But, we held consultations with them and sent notices, both individual and public. And, by January 15 all shops in Chandni Chowk, and on the road from Parade Ground to Gate No. 3 of Jama Masjid have been advised to change to the new style,” the official told PTI.
The ASEAN summit is scheduled to take place between January 19 and 30 in the national capital. Many leaders are expected to go sightseeing in the Old Delhi area. “We also held meeting with service providers and discoms to put the overhead wires, electric or communication lines, underground. And, that work is underway too,” she said.
When asked if this was just for the summit only, a spokesperson of the corporation said this is a “long-term” policy and slowly we will expand it to other parts of Delhi too.
Late November, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had asked all municipal corporations in Delhi to start work on beautification of public places, monuments and gardens ahead of the summit. She had asked the civic authorities to lay special emphasis on beautification of the Chandni Chowk area, NDMC Commissioner Madhup Vyas said.
On January 1, he had said that the NDMC had discussed the uniform board policy with several market associations and the response was “very positive”. “There was a general agreement on the uniform display policy but some of them wanted to discuss the uniform colour aspect of it,” he said.
Asked if shopkeepers continue to put up multiple board haphazardly, he said, “We already have the Delhi defacement act, and we will take action as per it if they do not comply. Besides, a uniform look would only attract more footfall in the market.”
The senior NDMC official said, “We conducted a drive to remove large outdoor advertisement boards and many shopkeepers realised the value of heritage facade when the ugly boards were removed. We also convinced them to paint and maintain the facade.”
Incidentally, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal yesterday took stock of preparations for the ASEAN summit and inspected areas of historic Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid and Red Fort. He said that all the civic agencies must take special care of the heritage places in their jurisdiction as they will be a centre of attraction for the international guests arriving from different countries for the summit.