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Trader makes Hawa Mahal-like structure in Chandni Chowk, MCD says to dismantle it

In Chandni Chowk, a structure that resembled Jaipur’s famed Hawa Mahal was erected, but the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has ordered the merchant who built it to demolish it.

Ankit Keyal, a Rajasthan-based trader and architect, restored the structure on the 1.3-kilometer pedestrian strip between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Masjid.

The NDMC has requested the owner to demolish the structure. ‘It is a new construction. He had asked for repair permission in 2019, which we had given, but not for new construction. Also, the facade is beyond the permissible limit of six inches, so he has been asked to remove the structure,’ a┬ásenior official said.

The building has been renovated and the exterior has been modified, but there have been no modifications on the inside other than repairs, Keyal stated. ‘It was made out of fibre and plaster of Paris to be lightweight and the colour red was chosen to complement the reconstruction plan,’ he said, adding that it was inspired by the Mehrangarh Fort’s jharokha.

He further said that the facade is located on the property’s land and does not obstruct the road. ‘I could have undertaken the project anywhere else but the reason I started it here is that it would add to the beauty of the area. Most people here, when they renovate, they give it a new look, but I thought it would keep the authenticity of the area alive,’ he said.

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‘I thought that everyone would appreciate it, but now that they have asked me to remove it, I do not want any confrontation. So if they want me to remove it, I will,’ he added.

Keyal had invested around Rs 20 lakh in the project.

The photo of the structure was initially posted by BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor, who is also a merchant in North Delhi, and it quickly gained notice. ‘The North MCD should review its decision and allow it because very few people in the area own the entire building and can provide a good facade like this. We promote wall paintings in different areas, so if someone is coming forward and adding to the beauty, he should be supported,’ read the tweet.

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