The New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) has requested Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena to intervene and help rectify the deteriorating structure of Connaught Place.
Constructed in the early 1930s, Connaught Place is one of Delhi’s most iconic areas. It falls under Grade-II heritage sites as listed by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which also poses a number of challenges in its administration and upkeep in general.
“Without the approval of the NDMC and HCC (Heritage Conservation Committee), we cannot change a water tap, let alone carry out structural alterations in the building. If there’s a new showroom opening and they want to renovate the space (internal) and do a basic set-up, they’ll need permission from both organisations, which takes about six-eight months,” said Vinay Bahl, treasurer, NDTA.
“Connaught Place was last painted before the Commonwealth Games in 2010. It’s been 12 years since and we’ve been seeking permission to renovate the place, but they (NDMC) neither grant us permission, nor do it themselves. It is Diwali and everyone wants their shops to look neat and clean, we do too. But, unless we get approval from the NDMC, there’s nothing we can do,” said Atul Bhargava, president, NDTA.
With peepal trees growing here and there, worn out walls, a host of regulations, long wait time for approvals and alarmingly high property taxes, the ease of doing business is negligible and newer brands don’t want to set up shop in the area, pointed out Vicky Badhwar, general secretary, NDTA.
The NDTA Friday had plantation (majorly peepal trees) removed after the NDMC agreed to let them do so, provided no structural damage or major changes are done.
On the concerns raised by traders, NDMC vice-chairperson Satish Upadhyay said: “Yes, there have been complaints regarding growth of peepal trees… we will enquire into the matter and seek an explanation from civil officials concerned. Appropriate action will be taken.”
Regarding painting and repair work, NDMC officials said that buildings in CP are heritage structures and they would have to consult the Archaeological Survey of India before allowing or starting work.