Goel decries neglect of heritage in Old Delhi

Goel decries neglect of heritage in Old Delhi
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Accusing the AAP led city government and the BJP led north municipal corporation of being apathetic to the sorry state of built heritage in old Delhi, Union Minister Vijay Goel on Thursday took out a march in Chandni Chowk to highlight the situation

New Delhi: Accusing the AAP-led city government and the BJP-led north municipal corporation of being "apathetic" to the "sorry state of built heritage" in old Delhi, Union Minister Vijay Goel on Thursday took out a march in Chandni Chowk to highlight the situation.

During a walk from Digambar Jain Lal Mandir to Fatehpuri Masjid, Goel was joined by a group of residents and members of a trader association, who carried placards to raise awareness about the need to protect the centuries-old architectural legacy of the area. During the march, he also halted at a few places, like the front of the historic Town Hall, and addressed the crowd.

"Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk in particular, has been home to beautiful havelis and the syncretic culture ('ganga jamuni tehzeeb') of India. But, look at the condition of it today.

Havelis in Sitaram Bazar and Kucha Pati Ram gullies being torn down to make new structures. And, the filth in the area," Goel said.

Members of Sarv Vyapar Mandal of Chandni Chowk, led by its president Sanjay Bhargava, lent support to Goel. "Foreign tourists come here a lot, but there is so much disorder.

Electric wires hang in the streets from poles, and filth is found strewn in the lanes and open areas of markets. Both the Delhi government and NDMC (North Delhi Municipal Corporation) are apathetic to the situation of heritage buildings," the minister alleged.

Goel, a senior BJP leader, also reiterated his demand, seeking action from the Delhi government and the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) to save the havelis and "prevent the area from illegal construction".

In the previous survey of Delhi government, 551 havelis were listed. Many of these havelis are now being "destroyed" and converted into markets, he alleged. SRDC is a special purpose vehicle set up in 2008, with members from various agencies, with the main objective to promote preservation of built and natural heritage in Delhi.

Preservation of Chandni Chowk area had been taken up under the SRDC plan years ago, but no progress has been made on it. Goel said this walk was "not a political thing" but for a "much large cause" of heritage preservation and sought people's support.

"Our fight is not against a few ordinary people who are doing illegal things, but against corrupt officials and greedy builders, who are trying to demolish our havelis and old heritage," he said.

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