With the first phase of the Chandni Chowk renovation/redevelopment getting over, the 1.4-kilometre stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid has been converted into a pedestrian-only zone between 9am and 9pm, besides providing several facilities for shoppers that throng to this heritage market such as benches, public toilets, street lights and specially designed cycle rickshaws for moving around the area.
It took nearly 15 years for the project to reach this stage after it was originally conceived in 2006. The ₹99-crore project was launched after a prolonged delay in December 2018 following the directions by the Delhi high court, which was also monitoring the project. The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) is the nodal agency for the redevelopment project.
In December 2018, Delhi’s deputy CM Manish Sisodia laid the foundation stone for the redevelopment project and the transfer of facilities was completed. The Public Works Department (PWD) started work on the main project in March 2019. While the initial deadline was November 2020, it was later revised to March 2021 due to delay on account of the Covid-19 pandemic and legal hurdles in removing encroachments, including some religious structures. The inauguration of the project was scheduled for April 17 this year, but the second wave of Covid-19 forced the authorities to postpone the event.
In the first phase of the project, utilities such as electric cables and other networks were laid underground and dedicated lanes for non-motorised transport and walkways were constructed. Facilities such as toilets, ATMs, benches for visitors, bollards for seating and other utilities have been provided in the redeveloped space. Over a hundred refurbished cycle rickshaws have been pressed into service on the stretch.
In the second phase, the façade restoration will be taken up by SRDC and PWD to provide a uniform façade to the market along the redeveloped stretch.