Connaught Place-An Open Letter to Chairperson-NDMC


The Chairperson
New Delhi Municipal Council
New Delhi



Considering the present state of CP, it is with great anguish, dismay,disappointment but with big hope, I, the first & only [ex] Project Manager (Connaught Place am addressing this Open Letter to you ).

My queries are as under pl—-

-Why Connaught Place- the prestigious shopping centre of the capital of India, is in such a big mess today?
-Why sizable portion of this heritage market-the so far, tourist attraction, has become traders/ shoppers/ visitors, nightmare?
-Why various redevelopment works are going on and on and on?
-Who is the authority [one window], on behalf of NDMC, who is managing Connaught place?
-To whom should various stakeholders in Connaught Place, turn to, in case of any grievance?
-What is the date of completion of various works going on, in this area?
-What is the status of Bar Charts, which indicate the progress of various works in progress?
-Is any Critical path Method[CPM] being used to achieve the desired progress with proper planning, design execution & quality-control?

-What sort of incentives/ punitive measures are introduced in the system/ redevelopment process to motivate/ educate/ take punitive actions, which are imperative, in case of repeated defaults, for the consultants , staff, contractors, when works are executed in sensitive areas?

As the things, are at the moment, as observed at the various sites, the state of planning/ execution , you will also agree, is not satisfactory, at places, it is DISMAL!

As a city- professional, I feel highly concerned & will request that NDMC –my own ORGANISATION, need to kindly introspect & take immediate corrective measures, to arrest the declining state of affairs in Connaught Place, put the execution process on an even keel & redeem its reputation, as an efficient local body, which of late, is loosing its luster!

You may ask, Madam, -why am I so concerned?

My name is Vijay K. Saluja. I superannuated as Chief Engineer[civil] of New Delhi Municipal Council on 31 st May, 2004 after serving NDMC for more than thirty four years. I had joined this civic body in 1969, after obtaining my degree in civil engineering from Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi.

I happened to be the first & only Project Manager [Connaught place]. This special post was created in 1988, by NDMC after vigorous follow up by New Delhi Traders Association, with the various higher authorities.

I, remained on this position till December 1990.Thereafter, this post was abolished by NDMC!?
I, have, thus, a very close emotional/ professional bond with this area, in particular.

During the period 1989-1990, the maintenance & redevelopment of Connaught Place & its surrounding areas was applauded & appreciated, so many times by New Delhi Traders Association, the then Chief Executive Councillor, the media, the then LG, & the New Delhi Municipal Council itself & the concerned staff was duly commended by NDTA & the NDMC itself, for doing good job!

.The NDMC after being happy with the work of Project Manager[CP}, by its own decisions/ resolutions, gave more responsibilities of the other departments-electrical, horticulture, garbage management, enforcement etc, to the Project Manager who initially was to only look after the civil engineering works of Connaught Place area.

Attractions in connaught place delhi : Jantar Mantar, Palika Bazaar, Hanuman Mandir, Bangla Sahib…

The green space above Palika Parking was adjudged the best maintained green space in NDMC in 1989-1990 & was awarded prizes.Very close co-ordination was kept with all the stakeholders in this area. Inspections on foot, of the various segments of CP were, then done on regular basis, with staff & the representatives of nine to ten Traders Associations, operating in the jurisdiction of Project Manager[Connaught Place]. Their genuine grievances were immediately attended to & cordiality was at its best. Cultural functions were also organized on regular basis in the central park of CP, to bring verve & vitality, in this area!

Connaught Place presented an immaculate look with so many redevelopment works continuing without any hinderance to any user/ visitor to this prestigous shopping centre of the capital of Delhi & completed almost in time.

Connaught Place – the heart of Delhi

All these activities/events as stated above, are/ were duly documented., if you may kindly like to verify, as you have joined NDMC, recently & the said documents also formed part of civil writ petition NO CWP 5176/1993 in the case V.K Saluja vs NDMC & others in the Delhi High Court, filed in 1993. I won the case in 2001 when the hon`ble court ruled in my favor.

The present state of affairs in CP, thus disturbs me in many ways?
Many questions spring to my mind & I, really wonder what has gone wrong with NDMC?
Why so much apathy, even when things have gone so bad?
Is the chairperson not getting the right advice/persons/contracors/consultants or wrong choices have been made??
If yes, then why right /really committed & skilled persons were/are not being deployed/engaged?

If the present ones, need skill upgradation, then why these are not being first trained & then put on the field jobs

My professional instincts, impel me to request you, that some well-thought out measures with strict coordination & monitoring process, need to be taken immediately to arrest the declining professional status of my `own` civil engineering department & the local body of which I have been an integral part, for many many years & take suitable immediate actions to bring back the glory to Connaught Place whom all Delhites, in particular, adore.

Constraints, if any need to be addressed, without delay…

There is no harm in having an Advisory Committee consisting of really committed competent, skilled & `passionate about work`- professionals with excellent track-record of impeccable integrity & good performance, whose hearts beat for the city & its citizens, to advise the Chairperson.

There is very BIG scope of improvement in NDMC area with optimum utilization of available funds?

I hope, you, Madam, will take my letter in right spirit, respond to/ think about, my queries in a positive way & take as well, immediate needed /suitable measures in bringing Connaught Place to its earlier state-the best shopping centre of Delhi nay India., where in, its every stakeholders is happy & proud to trade, shop, work & visit without hassles of any kind. 

Besides, area under NDMC jurisdiction-the pride of India needs attention, on many counts, on sustainable basis.

I am sure, you can & hope, will take adequate steps, to do it!

With warm regards & best wishes,
Vijay K. Saluja 

Ex first & only Project Manager[CP]-NDMC
-Senior Fellow[urban studies]
Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi
-Ex Chief Engineer[civil],New Delhi Municipal Council
& Ex President, IIT Delhi Alumni Association