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Living under the lengthening shadows of bulldozers

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ON THE HIT LIST?: One of the Capital's high-profile destinations likely to face the hammer after the recent High Court direction to remove commercial buildings from "Lal Dora" areas. - PHOTO: R. V. MOORTHY
ON THE HIT LIST?: One of the Capital's high-profile destinations likely to face the hammer after the recent High Court direction to remove commercial buildings from "Lal Dora" areas. - PHOTO: R. V. MOORTHY

Mandira Nayar

NEW DELHI: With the Delhi High Court ordering demolition of commercial establishments in the Capital's "Lal Dora" rural areas, some of the city's familiar old fashion landmarks like 1 MG Road and 2 MG Road as well as outlets of many leading designers have come under the scanner.

A bitter dose of reality for the Page 3 circuit, the Court order has put a question mark over the outlets of prominent designers like Ritu Beri, Rohit Bal, Aki Narula, Raghuvendra Rathore, Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Gandhi, Rahul Khanna, Manish Arora and Vidhi Singhania.

It has left quite a few of them confused as they await further information from the Government over the matter. "It will affect many designers. We are waiting for more details from the authorities to act accordingly," says designer Tarun Tahiliani, who has two outlets in Mehrauli.

A major destination for the fashion-conscious, 1 MG Road and 2 MG Road are three-storey designer malls that house some of the biggest names in the business. However, this is not the first time that the authorities have declared the two designer outlets on MG Road illegal. The two had escaped bulldozers the last time round, but now with the Court issuing directions targeting commercial properties, their fate appears sealed.

Designer destinations apart, Delhi's glitterati will also have to find a new place for kitty lunches with the two eating joints in these buildings also likely to face the demolition squad. Apart from MG Road, the fate of another major stop for label shoppers, Ambawatta Complex -- a tall glass and concrete building next to the grand Adham Khan's tomb behind the historic Qutub Minar - also hangs in the balance.

Though the future of designer outlets as well as eating places in Hauz Khas is not too clear, the outlets in the newly built places at Mehrauli appear set to face the hammer.

"It is really sad that the authorities let the building come up in the first place," rued designer Ritu Beri who has an outlet in Ambawatta Complex. "We had spent so much money on the interiors. However, if the building is affected, my shop will also be effected,'' she added.

Ambawatta Complex is also home to designer labels like Ensemble, Good Earth, Inka, Ritu Beri and Ashley. Also located on the premises is the newly renovated Thai Wok.

"It is really sad as it will be a loss for both designers and shoppers. The MG Road outlets were a very popular destination and impossible to get into on a Sunday. But if it has to be done for the citizens of Delhi, I guess it has to be done," said fashion designer Varun Behl.

While the faithful followers of fashion might not be too thrilled by the order, for officials at the Archaeological Survey of India it is a welcome step, a victory for heritage. The Ambawatta Complex had been one of the eyesores around the protected monument that they wanted removed.

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