Chandni Chowk parking project gets green light but with riders

The construction site of multilevel parking-cum-commercial complex at Gandhi Maidan in Chandni Chowk.

The construction site of multilevel parking-cum-commercial complex at Gandhi Maidan in Chandni Chowk.   | Photo Credit: Reeti Agarwal / Intern

Delhi Urban Arts Committee had objected to height of the project as it could pose a threat given its proximity to Red Fort

After months of going back and forth, the proposal for the Gandhi Maidan parking project in Chandni Chowk finally got its approval from the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC).

However, changes were made in the proposal which brought down the height of the project to 21 metres. A representative of the traders’ association in the area believes that the changes will cause inconvenience and wants the proposal to be appealed in the Urban Development Ministry.

“The DUAC has unnecessarily poked its nose into the project, with so-called historians and architects suddenly showing their love for Delhi 6,” said Sanjay Bhargava, president of the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, who had written the Lieutenant-Governor in 2011, calling for the creation of additional parking space in the area by redeveloping the dilapidated parking at Gandhi Maidan. “It is the nucleus of the Chandni Chowk redevelopment project,” he said.

The commission had earlier objected to a proposal of building a 29.8-metre tall construction on the grounds that it would mar the aesthetics of the area and could pose a threat to the Prime Minister’s security given its proximity to the Red Fort.

Among challenges faced in reducing the height of the project, included the fact that digging below 12 metres would involve cutting through hard rock and immense de-watering. Additionally, “stack parking” infrastructure would allow more cars to be parked in a smaller space reducing the height, but would be undesirable as most visitors to Chandni Chowk parked their cars only for about 30-60 minutes according to a traffic assessment report. Stack parking would consume more time for the public to park their cars.

Third basement

In a revised proposal sent to the DUAC, a third basement was added to the project and stack parking introduced only in that basement. This brought down the height to 25.30 metres. In giving its approval, the DUAC has called for the introduction of a second level of stacked parking and removal of the fifth floor in order to reduce the height further.

“This will obviously make it inconvenient,” said Mr. Bhargava. He attacked the DUAC for “selectively” interfering with the project in Chandni Chowk, saying that the ITPO project in Pragati Maidan which was coming up near Purana Qila, an ASI-protected site was several times taller than that monument.

“What about the skyline there?” he asked. Mr. Bhargava also highlighted several buildings already in the area which were taller than the 21 metre-height limit prescribed by the DUAC.

In response to whether the project would cause inconvenience, North Corporation Commissioner Varsha Joshi said, “Do we have a choice?” She added that given the delays the project had already witnessed, the authorities were going ahead with whatever was possible. Queries regarding whether the DUAC’s recommendations would be appealed to the UD Ministry went unanswered.

Calls to DUAC’s secretary were not returned.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 7:00:21 PM |

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