Chandni Chowk uplift may ruin Mughal canal

Mughal Canal in Chandni Chowk

The transformation plan of Chandni Chowk will damage the flood plain of the canal area built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan and designed by his beloved daughter Princess Jahan Aara, believe many traders living in the area for ages.

Since the plan was made public, traders are fighting against the concretisation of the area as they feel the present development plan leaves no scope for revival of the Mughal era canal which was covered by the British in 1910.

Importantly, as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court, no pakka construction will take place on the water body area. The traders have written to Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to intervene and issue orders to stop the development work.

“Fancy construction will erase the essence of the Mughal era, particularly this seventeenth century road which is 1.3 kilometre, connecting historic Red Fort to Fatehpuri Mosque built by Shahjan’s wife Fateh-un-Nisa and named after her.

An Old Delhi trader told The Pioneer, from the time of Mughals till date, it is one of the busiest markets in the country. “There are centuries old buildings situated in that particular stretch — Gurdwara Sis Ganj, Sunehri Masjid, Digambar Jain temple, Gauri Shankar Mandir and Fatehpuri Masjid and markets like Nai Sadak and Dariba Kalan,” said the trader.

“It is true that with time, the area has witnessed changes, traffic is one problem but with planned parking, the problem can be resolved,” said another trader.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders leading Old Traders’ Association urged the revival of  Mughal era canal and its beautified development as done in Bhopal, Ahmedabad, London and Venice.

“We have sent a copy of letter and urged him to postpone the inauguration proposed for December 7, 2018 for time bound hearing of public suggestions and modifications,” said a BJP worker.

BJP leaders have also sent the letters to Union Ministers Dr Harsvardhan and Vijay Goel and Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari urging them to intervene and examine the possibility of Centre’s intervention in the matter, like in the case of smart cities development.

The Old Traders’ Association is opposing the plan because it is difficult to restrict the entry of motorised vehicles in the area as this will impact on their trade, sale and income.

“We have never been involved in the plan- making process. The plans were solely designed by civic officers and other people involved from the Shahajanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC). “They just sit in air – conditioned room and design the plan,” said Azad Goel of the Old Traders’ Association.

The transformation Old Delhi plan is about the shifting of utilities on road between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Old mosque.  The work has been started on the direction of the Delhi High Court. The reconstruction has evoked strong reaction from the Old Traders of the area who said they will fight it out to preserve the outlook of the Walled City. This much touted re-development will take away the glory of the Shajahanabad, they added.


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