Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sonia blackballs Lodhi Road Tunnel project in name of Heritage

Rajesh Kumar in

New Delhi Trans-Yamuna residents would continue to take a circuitous route through Ashram or Pragati Maidan to access the heart of the city. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said that the tunnel project connecting National Highway 24 to Lodhi Road bypassing Humayun's Tomb and other monuments be shelved for now. The Congress president has advised the Delhi Government to stop thinking about the tunnel project.

The direction comes following the request by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to intervene in the matter and direct the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to clear the prestigious project. Gandhi has expressed serious concern over the likely adverse impact of the proposed tunnel road in a letter to Dikshit that the project is not in sync with UNESCO guidelines and the opinions of environmentalists and heritage experts and so the Government should not pursue the project any further. The PMO had also raised objections to the project after which Dikshit shot off a letter to Gandhi and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month seeking a green signal for the project.

The letter said: "It is advisable not to pursue the project further due to objections raised by environmentalists and heritage experts."

The Delhi Government had proposed a Rs 560 crore tunnel from Ring Road to Lodhi Road, to reduce travelling time by six minutes when the participants are taken from the Games Village to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies. Heritage experts and conservationists who were up in arms against the project contended that it would cause vibration in the area damaging Humayun Tomb and 13 other monuments. The tunnel road would weaken the base of the tomb and the vibrations caused during the digging of this tunnel would lead to structural damage to the Mughal edifice.

We don't not know for certain, how many ships would ever use the SSCP or how much savings would it really mean for the shipping companies, if at all. But every commuter across Yamuna in New Delhi knows this for sure, that the proposed Lodhi Road tunnel, was going to save them a long circular and painful journey across the Yamuna river, and result in savings of fuel, time, and avoiding traffic and pollution.

We wonder what the 'Progressive' chest-beaters would say to this! Oh yeah, we know. Rama Setu - Ram did not exist, Setu not man made, go ahead in the name of progress. Whereas, Humayun Tomb, ofcourse man made, that too in memory of a Muslim invader, so certainly a heritage site. Stop the Lodhi Road tunnel even if ASI had already issued a No-Objection-Certificate to this design.

(We do not mean to stand as supporting any damage to Humayun Tomb. We welcome all the careful precautions to protect all the cultural heritage sites. By this news item, we just want to expose the double standards followed by the pseudo-secular news media and the government we have.)

hits since Chaitra 7, 2064 Vikram (March 26, 2007)