The ambitious Shahjahanabad redevelopment project, unveiled in 2011 and meant to revamp the Walled City area while preserving monuments, has hit a roadblock.
Sources said the AAP government and implementing agencies — Delhi Metro, PWD, ASI, Delhi Police and MCDs — are not on the same page on a host of issues, such as introducing electric buses and not allowing commercial vehicles into the area.
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Ever since the proposal to operate trams in the Walled City was scrapped by the government last year, there has been little progress in the project, said sources. As an alternative, the government had suggested introducing e-buses in Old Delhi areas as it was more cost-effective than trams, but no consensus was reached on the issue.
“Electric buses can bear a fixed amount of weight. Overloading will drain the battery fast. It is also expensive to keep recharging the battery. There is also no consensus on who will oversee the e-buses if they are introduced,” said the source.
The DMRC had initially proposed a 4.3-km tram line in Chandni Chowk. “The tram lines were to be laid near the Metro stations so that people don’t have to take a rickshaw or other modes of transport. It was also proposed that the trams could be used for loading goods at night but the MLAs were not convinced,” added the source.
AAP MLA from Chandni Chowk Alka Lamba said the e-buses project will remain stalled if it is not converted into a Special Purpose Vehicle. “In its present state, the project is a waste of time, and the area has just been reduced to a garbage dump… There is no consensus on any issue. We hope it will improve after the MCD elections,” she said.
On the issue of parking, the high court had ordered that a multi-level parking lot be constructed at Gandhi Maidan near Chandni Chowk.
Besides this, sources said there has been no consensus on allowing commercial vehicles into the area.
“Loading and unloading of goods cannot be stopped, especially in Chandni Chowk, and it was suggested that a specific time period be allotted for the same. It was also proposed that a separate lane be allotted for rickshaws or two-wheelers but this too did not see the light of day,” added the source.