Sanitation takeover by MCD planned in revamped Chandni Chowk

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will again take up cleanliness and sanitation activities on the redeveloped Chandni Chowk stretch, after it was found that the public works department (PWD), which is the custodian of the stretch, is not doing a proper job of maintaining cleanliness in the area, a meeting of all stakeholders, called by the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC), on June 21 has decided.

Plans are also afoot to reduce the number of rickshaws plying on the stretch, so to decongest the area, and introduce an online fining system using CCTV cameras to penalise vehicles found entering the stretch between 9am and 9pm, an official aware of the developments has said.

The phase one of the 99-crore Chandni Chowk redevelopment project, aimed at decongesting and conserving the heritage structure of the Emperor Shahjahan-era market between the Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid, was inaugurated on September 12 last year.

During a surprise inspection on June 10, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had found several faults with the maintenance and upkeep of the area and he had directed officials to submit a report on the state of the redeveloped Chandni Chowk market, while reminding them that it was important to ensure that the revamped stretch does not lose its sheen.

The meeting of stakeholders was called following this to discuss steps that needed to be taken to improve the upkeep of the area.

Sanjay Bhargava, who heads the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, said traders have been requesting the MCD to restart the morning sweeping and cleanliness activities as the newly renovated market was starting to lose its sheen.

“Deputy commissioner of the City Sadar Paharganj (City-SP) zone has been directed to ensure sweeping of the stretch and removal of garbage in the morning as it is the obligatory function of (the MCD) providing sanitation in the area although PWD is responsible for maintaining the area,” the directions issued by chief nodal officer H Rajesh Prasad, who is looking after revamped stretch, said.

The issue of unregistered rickshaws increasing congestion on the stretch was also raised during the meeting. “Currently, there are around 1,000 rickshaws plying in the area which will be brought down to 400. The order issued by the nodal officer on June 23 said the MCD along with traffic police will take action against the unregistered cycle rickshaws plying on the road. MCD has also been directed to submit timelines for introducing redesigned cycle rickshaws in the area by July 6,” Bhargava said.

A PWD official said SRDC has also asked the government to explore the option of launching vintage look golf carts to ferry shoppers and to submit timelines for completion of an impact assessment study on the pedestrianization of Chandni Chowk.

After the deputy CM’s inspection, the Delhi government had said the agency concerned was found to be negligent in its work of cleaning and maintaining the road stretch.

“It was also observed that the boom barriers installed at either ends of the revamped stretch were not functional. Motor vehicles are prohibited on this stretch; however movement of two-wheelers was noted. The number of cycle rickshaws on the entire stretch has also increased significantly. Under the initiative of renovation and beautification of Chandni Chowk, all overhead wires were taken underground. It was noted that new overhead wires have come up in some places,” the government had said.

A PWD official said the boom barriers as well as the feed from CCTV camera will be handed over to traffic police for issuing online fines using automatic number plate recognition cameras.

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