New Delhi: The
450-year-old Jama Masjid in the old quarters of the capital has to
cross one more hurdle to get a complete face job, which would
beautify its surrounding area and turn the shrine into a world class
It is awaiting a
no-objection certificate from the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC),
the monitoring body for urban landscape and planning aesthetics in
"We sent back
the redevelopment plan that the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi)
submitted to us with a few amendments and recommendations, but we
have not yet issued a no-objection certificate for the project. We
will do so soon. Till such time, I would say that the plan is still
under consideration," DUAC secretary Navneet Kumar told IANS.
The revised Jama
Masjid Redevelopment Plan with the changes and "add-ons" is with the
DUAC but is not on the agenda of the body's June 12 meeting.
"No local body
is authorised to issue a completion certificate to a project without
an NOC (no objection certificate) from the DUAC," said Kumar. He,
however, felt that the area around the shrine needs to be spruced
The Jama Masjid,
commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1656, was built by
nearly 5,000 workers over a period of six years.
The name traces
its roots to Friday prayers (namaaz) that are usually held in a "jami
masjid" or Friday mosque. The courtyard of the Jama Masjid in Delhi
can accommodate up to 25,000 worshippers.
The MCD's Rs.12
billion plan hinges on the restoration of 46 acres surrounding the
mosque. It includes raising the height of the area around the Jama
Masjid, landscaping a Mughal garden, a proposed shopping complex at
the basement, a three-level underground parking, redeveloping the
existing Meena Bazar with 650 air-conditioned shops, a new road and
traffic management plan around the Pardah Bagh area and a fire
sources, the DUAC has objected to a "heritage mall" that the MCD
wanted to build at the Meena Bazar, the market enclave at the base
of the staircase leading to the mosque.
that during Shah Jahan's reign the Meena Bazar used to be an
exclusive market for members of the royal household.
The DUAC is also
against a multi-storied shopping complex that the MCD wants to build
along the Dargah of Sheikh Kallimullah and a service utility duct
from the mosque to the adjacent Subhash Marg.
chief town planner of the MCD, said the civic body will get the plan
approved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the Sunehri
Masjid and the Red Fort were located in the vicinity (within 30
metres) of the Jama Masjid. He said the changes recommended by the
DUAC will be kept in mind while implementing the project.
plan was drawn up by the MCD following a court directive and a
public interest litigation on the plight of the heritage monument.
The main shrine
itself is being currently restored by the ASI, officials said.
the plan, heritage management consultant Amita Baig, who is
associated with the World Monuments Fund, said any redevelopment of
the Jama Masjid should be done in consultation with the public.
"The views of
the people must be sought. After all, it's their masjid. The users
and service-providers must benefit from any such project. But I
think it can be developed into a great social area if the MCD
develops a better traffic system, removes the shopping area and
cleans up the litter," she told IANS.
The area around
the mosque is an unplanned mess of kiosks hawking daily wares and
eateries plying street food. Piles of garbage intersperse the
make-shift shops, adding to the squalor.