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Fully automated six-level underground parking moves forward

Posted on | April 13, 2011 | No Comments

A fully automated six-level underground parking is mired in controversy with fears that it threatens a tomb in the vicinity.

After a protracted spat between the Delhi Urban Art Commission and New Delhi Municipal Council on the one hand and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and High Court Bar on the other, construction of an underground multi-level automated parking lot opposite the Delhi High Court is set to be taken up in earnest with all sanctions being granted.

Following a string of court orders since February — the latest was passed last week — nine authorities have “put their heads together”, as asked by a Bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandarajog, and given the go-ahead gradually, the Forest department being the last one.

The fully automated six-level underground parking with a capacity to accommodate 1500 cars on Sher Shah Suri Marg has been mired in controversy since its inception in 2008 with conservationists expressing fears that it threatened a tomb in the vicinity.

In December 2010, the DUAC rejected the proposal as it could damage the tomb which figured in the list of 141 heritage structures in the NDMC area. The DUAC took note of the NDMC grievance that work at the site was not stopped despite a stop-work notice issued in October 2009.

On February 14, Justice Nandarajog passed the first effective order on a petition by the Delhi High Court Bar Association, seeking more land for expansion of the High Court. During this hearing, Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok, appearing for the Association, sought court intervention into the refusal by DUAC and NDMC for sanctions to the parking lot which has to be connected to the precincts of the court through an underpass. The judge asked the NDMC chief architect and a senior DUAC officer to explain.

On February 23, the DUAC Secretary and NDMC Chief Architect showed up in court. Noting that the plan required sanctions from as many as nine civic bodies, Justice Nandarajog asked officers of all agencies to “sit together at one time; at one place; and at one drawing board” on March 9 to take up the DMRC plan and provide a “corrective solution”. If a representative from an agency did not turn up, the plan, the court said, would be deemed to have been approved by them.

“We note that issue of continuing construction activity in the car parking is the source of some kind of irritation to DUAC and for which we direct that said issue would not be deliberated upon. The issue of sanction of plans would be taken up with reference to the concerned bye-laws, rules and regulations applicable as if the plans have to be sanctioned on a barren virgin land,” the judge said.

On March 28, the court was informed that the DUAC had given its nod and “necessary approval” was accorded by all authorities.The NDMC was now in the process of releasing the sanctioned plan. The only sanction, the court noted, pertained to the state Forest department.

On April 4, the court was told that the NDMC had formally released the sanctioned plan. On April 8, the Forest department officer presented himself and said that they approved the plan in principle and the DMRC only had to meet the condition of re-planting trees in lieu of the ones getting pruned. Chandhiok, who is also the Bar president, agreed to all conditions. “Work will now go on in full swing. We intend to procure equipment for the automated parking very soon so that the trial kicks off in July and the parking lot is completely ready by August 15,” he told Newsline.

Adapted from Indian Express News


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