With Wires Everywhere, Chandni Chowk Is a Time Bomb, Says Delhi HC

A lack of access in the area has made it impossible for fire tenders and ambulances to enter during emergencies.

2 min read
An old haveli in Chandi Chowk, which has been modified and converted into a bank. Image used for representational purposes. 

The Delhi High Court on Thursday, 26 October, addressing the safety hazards of Old Delhi’s Chandi Chowk region said that the mess of electric wires dangling over the area were akin to ticking “time bombs”.

The court also observed that there was a lack of access in the walled city, making it difficult for fire tenders and ambulances to enter the area in emergency situations, reported PTI.

A bench of justices GS Sistani and V Kameshwar Rao made the remarks while directing the Delhi Police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to comply with its order to stop encroachments in Chandni Chowk.

“We expect that the previous orders will be complied with in letter and spirit,” the bench said.

The bench added:

These are time bombs. You cannot look up and see the sky clearly; there are so many wires hanging everywhere. Wires are hanging over shutters of every shop. We talk of heritage but are not ready to look at the grassroots level.

Suggesting that authorities and hawkers should adopt some unconventional means and regulatory processes to address the problem, the bench said that visitors over the past 50 years or even before, would know that the area hadn’t developed a bit.

“Only vehicles have increased. Hawkers were always there,” it said and listed the matter for 17 November.

While hearing a petition filed by the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal against encroachments in the area, the bench observed that a Supreme Court order declaring Chandni Chowk as a no-vending zone has to be complied with.

Delhi Police's Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra said that continuous drives were being undertaken to make the area encroachment-free, but vendors would resurface after the conclusion of each drive.

The court had earlier warned of serious action against the MCD and the police if they failed to stop encroachments in the area.

(With inputs from PTI)

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