• CP Ka Underbelly!

    by  • December 27, 2013 • General, Heritage • 9 Comments

    Connaught Place or CP as most refer to it, was recently listed by Forbes magazine to be the 5th most expensive ‘office destination’ in the world! And if the plans formulated by NDMC and Delhi Government are taken to their logical conclusion (albeit at DMRC-speeds!) and notwithstanding the new AAP ki Delhi Government (no pun intended), then the day is not far when probably CP will become the most expensive office address in the world and the biggest open air Mall of India…

    A shot by one of our readers, Conhas Thakkar of CP

    A shot of CP by one of our readers, Conhas Thakkar

    NDMC has been at work since early 2010 to carry out necessary beautification, repairs of the facades and pillars of CP, standardizing the billboards/signages of shops and offices and attempting to regulate the unauthorized constructions which have taken place in the past few decades of Delhi’s relentless march towards urbanisation.

    But a salient feature of the efforts in beautifying CP forever is another project of the ‘underground’ types. Almost 80 years after Connaught Plaza or Place was completed in 1933 as part of the grand city plan for New Delhi envisaged by Lutyens, EIL or Engineers India Limited and NDMC has succeeded in making the biggest addition to CP.  A 7 metres x 7metres utility tunnel has been dug up and constructed under the road which lies between the Outer and Inner Circles of CP, popularly called Middle Circle.

    A 7 metres x 7metres utility tunnel has been created under the part which lies between the Outer and Inner Circles of CP

    A chaotic maze of pipelines and cables standing on steel struts supporting them.

    How will the tunnel help in beautifying CP?

    The new tunnel is designed to carry all service equipments such as electric and communication cables, water supply and irrigation lines, fire fighting services, water sewers etc. The idea was to remove the ugly eyesores that dotted the famous shopping and commerical hub and also end the need forever to dig-up roads to lay down new cables, water pipes, sewage pipes etc.

    Smell of freshly painted pipes, water conduits, racks of aluminium and white-washed walls greet you as you enter the tunnel

    Smell of freshly painted pipes, water conduits, racks of aluminium and white-washed walls greet you as you enter the tunnel.

    Robert Tor Russell, chief architect to the Public Works Department (PWD) in the British Government of India, who designed CP in the 1920s would never have imagined that one day people like you and me would walk along this huge tunnel, which is 1.2 Kms long running in a circle around the circumference of the circle that CP is designed as.

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    These 10 aluminum racks will carry all kinds of ‘wired connectivity’ equipment that can possibly be needed today and in the future!

    CP NDMC Underground Tunnels

    This 7m x 7m tunnel runs continuously around the circumference of CP’s middle circle, except for 2 breaks due to the DMRC Metro Tunnels. Hence one will have to re-exit and re-enter the tunnel twice if one wishes to go all the way from one end to the other.

    The tunnel has been built at a cost of Rs485Crores. Figures are as per the EIL’s engineer who met us from the invited contingent of Media and Delhi Bloggers.

    "Cable Chaloo Hai 11000 Volts" The cables supplying electricty to CP and around CP have been already laid out and these racks are dangerous to touch!

    “Cable Chaloo Hai 11000 Volts” it says in Hindi. The cables supplying electricity to CP and around CP have been already laid out and these bottom racks are dangerous to touch!

     

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    The Blue pipes carry freshwater supply, Green is water for irrigation and cleaning purposes, while the dual Reds are for Fire Fighting purposes

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    A journalist takes some details from one of the officials present from EIL/NDMC.

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    I do not know if this Warning was for us!!

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    Shadaab, a worker involved in the construction is from Jharkhand and says he is happy the work is over, as he can now go back home.

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    This was the end of the path till where even the media-teams were allowed to go. Now we had to turn back and exit the Tunnel.

    The NDMC has kept the tunnel open for public viewing from 11:30AM till 4:30PM daily till 4th Jan 2014. If interested to check it out reach Middle Circle on Janpath (R1) Road entering Inner Circle from Outer Circle.

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    The Exit, a long way up to ground level , 4 flights of stairs, phew! I am feeling tired now!

    Thank God, the Beer shop right outside the exit will help me get over my 'tunnel up & down fatigue' ! I think I will have a quick beer to two....

    Thank God, the Beer shop right outside the exit will help me get over my ‘tunnel up & down fatigue’ ! I think I will have a quick beer or two….

    9 Responses to CP Ka Underbelly!

    1. kathakoli
      December 28, 2013 at 10:47 am

      What seemed to look like a boring article on pipes, infrastructure and realty rates, turned out to be one big surprise! Had no clue that the tunnel ic open for public now… Looking forward to going into CP’s underbelly as soon as i am back in town!

      • December 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

        Thanks Kathakoli…yes its open but only till 4th Jan..,so do hurry…the authorities are yet to decide on final plan for opening it as part of a spcl refurbished CP plan including guided tours of CP about its architecture & heritage…

        • kathakoli
          December 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm

          thanks Ramit, definitely going before the 4th and good to learn abt the guided tours arnd CP

    2. December 28, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Very informative post, didn’t know anything about the tunnel. But am scared this doesn’t become a potential spot to rape women. but why did you take photos? It wasn’t allowed. Bad.

      • December 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

        Thanks Sanjukta…that seems unlikely since the tunnel may never be opened permanently for people. The amount of security in that place is phenomenal, (at least was that 1st day they opened it) considering the value of the hardware/infra at stake. Lakhs of money worth cables, electric lines etc are kept there… We were invited as part of Media engagement and thus had liberty to take pics & interview the officials.

    3. Abhijit
      December 30, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      Way back in 1931, CESC engineers built a tunnel under the Hooghly river in Kolkata to carry electric lines

      “…Today, as Kolkata strives to catch up on the transport front as well, some of the early infrastructure created by the CESC is also likely to prove useful. Back in 1931, CESC engineers built a tunnel under the Hooghly riverbed to carry power lines across. With an east-west Metro rail link in the offing, Metro engineers are examining the tunnel, which is still operational, as an engineering model, as the last stretch of the Metro will also go under the Hooghly.”

      http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/cesc-among-100-year-old-indian-companies/1/16491.html

    4. suhas katti
      May 31, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      Who knew that underground CP; lay a complex criss cross of pipes, cable & other infra that helps in keeping CP what it s – a lovable tourist destination . suhas katti

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