Will Delhi's Chandni Chowk finally get a facelift?

Will Delhi's Chandni Chowk finally get a facelift?
Chandni Chowk market

New Delhi: Will Delhi's oldest business hub Chandni Chowk finally get a makeover? One more foundation stone has been laid for the redevelopment of this densely populated market that has been around for more than three centuries. One of the key projects of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia laid the foundation stone for the redevelopment of Chandni Chowk recently.

The government claims that changes would be visible by June 2019 and has sought one-and-a-half years to fully complete the project at a cost of Rs 65 crore.

Why Chandni Chowk?

Chandni Chowk still retains much of the glory and grandeur of the Mughal empire. When the Red Fort was built, it was the adjoining market. Stretching from Lahori Darwaza (Lahore Gate) to Fatehpuri Masjid, Chandni Chowk has always been plagued by constraints. The lanes are narrow and can just about accommodate a vehicle. Don't even think about parking here. But these shortcomings have never affected its popularity.

Will it work?

The AAP's announcement has waken up people who have forgotten the promises made by the Congress and the BJP. They are wondering whether this too will be just another election promise.

When A B Vajpayee was the prime minister, then Chandni Chowk MP Vijay Goel was the first to dangle the carrot. Then came Congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit. A redevelopment plan was readied and then Chandni Chowk MP Kapil Sibal too got involved, giving hopes to the people. But those promises too were confined to laying a foundation stone and the people lost hope.

The high court too had intervened and issued several orders for the redevelopment of Chandni Chowk. But nothing reached its conclusion. Despite its significance, the only change that took place here was the arrival of Delhi Metro. But this too couldn't help ease the traffic problems. Traffic issues and garbage problems become key debate points during elections now. There are allegations that the AAP government moved fast in laying the foundation stone due to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Now, it is upon the Kejriwal government to fulfil its promises.

Proposed changes

* Special lane for pedestrians and non-motor vehicles

* Special parking facility for 1,500 vehicles

* Revival of electric trams

* Twisted overhead electricity cables to be moved underground

* Benches and street lights

* Facilities for providing drinking water, washroom, slots for loading and unloading goods, cycle parking, cycle rickshaw stand and information kiosks

* Police aid posts

* Strict CCTV surveillance

* A special track to plant trees.

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