Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lack of funds Jama Masjid facelift work to miss deadline

Lack of funds is likely to delay the Jama Masjid re-development plan and it may now not be completed before the Commonwealth Games.

MCD commissioner KS Mehra had recently written to LG Tejender Khanna seeking Rs 20 crore as additional funds for the project. The Delhi government, too, had promised to bear one-third of the total project cost. ‘‘However, the government is yet to release any money. We are hoping that funds are made available soon. We will divide the work in phases so that some part of the work is completed before the Games,’’ said a senior MCD official. MCD’s Chandni Chowk re-development plan too has been stuck due to paucity of funds.

Civic agency and planners say that it was ambitious on part of the administration to have set a Games deadline for the Jama Masjid plan. ‘‘Jama Masjid re-development is a very sensitive project. Even if we had the fund flow, the Commonwealth Games deadline would still have been unrealistic,’’ the official said. The two major stakeholders of the project — 633 shopkeepers of Meena Bazaar and the traders of Dargah Sheikh Kallimullah — had recently given their consensus to the project. ‘‘It took us 50-odd meetings with them to finally come to a consensus on the redevelopment plan,’’ added the official.