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Published in the 16-31 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Old Delhi to be restored 

New Delhi: Old Delhi will soon regain its lost historical status and importance. In place of its narrow and dingy lanes, wide roads will be built, and disorganised houses will be replaced by planned houses. Delhi Municipal Corporation will have nothing do with the construction of buildings, though it will draw up map. House owners will be authorised to build their houses or have them repaired by the architects of their own choice.

According to R.K. Meena, chief executive engineer of the corporation, Old Delhi which is also called the Walled City, will be designed and built on the pattern of Bhuj, a city in Gujarat. The plan has already been approved. And the project more land can be acquired, purchased or exchanged. 

Old Delhi was developed by the Mughal king, Shah Jahan and he named it Shah Jahanabad. There were 14 gates for entry in the city. Of these gates now only Delhi Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Mori Gate, Kashmiri Gate, and Turkaman Gate exit today. 

The Walled City has lost its old reputation because of its narrow and dingy lanes, unplanned and congested localities, illegal encroachments and constructions and traffic jams. The Municipal Corporation wants to improve the conditions but it finds helpless in view the provisions of Building Act passed 21 years ago. According to the engineering department of the corporation, draft of the new Building Act is ready and it will be introduced in the assembly soon.

In the new Act attention has been paid for proper development of Old Delhi. Many other proposals were also made and examined earlier in the past but none of them was approved. There was unanimity of opinion on developing it on the pattern of Bhuj. R.K. Meena said that Old Delhi is our heritage and there are many historical buildings like Red Ford, Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri, Ghalib’s Haveli and other buildings in the city. He said that unless Old Delhi is developed and improved, Delhi cannot be developed and built as a city of international standards. 

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