The Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s ambitious plan for redevelopment of Chandni Chowk, including a proposal for revival of tram service and restricted vehicular movement, might soon become a reality with the Delhi Urban Arts Commission granting preliminary conceptual approval to it this past week.

The DUAC has recommended introduction of low-floor open tram transportation system with controlled movement and accessibility from both sides while suggesting that “the life and texture of the old city should be reflected on the streets.”

The proposal is part of the Rs.15 crore redevelopment plan to decongest the road from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid in Old Delhi and give it an attractive look.

According to the plan submitted by the civic body, four metre-gauge trams, each having a capacity to carry 20 people, will run on the southern carriageway of Chandni Chowk from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid. There will be two tracks -- one from Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid and the other from Fatehpuri to Red Fort.

Meanwhile, the northern carriageway of the Chandni Chowk stretch will be used for vehicular traffic from H. C. Sen Marg or from the Fatehpuri Masjid side. Traffic will not be allowed to enter from the Red Fort side.

At present, CNG-run minibuses are plying in the area after a ban on cycle-rickshaws by the Delhi High Court and the development plan aims to further de-congest traffic and revive the heritage glory of the old city.

In response to the plan submitted by the MCD, the DUAC has suggested that motorised movement should be allowed at access roads only. According to its members, this could be achieved by preventing vehicular parking in Chandni Chowk and using the road provided for servicing emergency vehicles or processions.

Though the MCD proposed a ban on hawking in the area, the DUAC said that aspect of hawking could also be seen in the context of the National Hawking Policy regulations.

According to the members, the facade of heritage buildings also need to be coordinated with the treatment of the floor of the city. This redevelopment plan conceptualised by the civic body almost four years ago was finally submitted to the DUAC for approval in September this year.

DUAC chairman K. T. Ravindran said: “We have given an initial conceptual clearance to the tram project as part of Chandni Chowk re-development plan. We found the proposal submitted by the MCD acceptable and have made a few observations. We expect the MCD to come back to us after incorporating our observations and submit the detailed plan to the Commission for the next stage of consideration. Our main observation was that the spirit of Chandni Chowk should not be lost under the plan and it should be retained,” he added.

Apart from revival of tram service and restricted traffic movement, other components of the project include provisions for modern street furniture, street-lighting, modern sign boards, attractive elevations, convenient footpaths, benches and a common cable system.

Once the plan is fully implemented, the stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid will have a 3.5-metre wide motorway on both sides, besides an eight to 15-metre-wide pedestrian footpath.

The stretch will also have a 1.2-metre-wide street furniture strip. Landscaping will be done and trees will be grown in clusters of three all along the stretch. The plan also makes way for micro-tunnelling of underground ducts for service cables, hence clearing all overhanging wires.

The redevelopment plan for the Red Fort-Fatehpuri Masjid road is part of the MCD’s grand Shahjahanabad redevelopment plan. The plan also includes redevelopment of Jama Masjid precincts, which got the DUAC approval earlier this year.

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