Delhi: after objections to gurdwara and temple paintings, the underground passage of the Ashram turns around

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The Public Works Department removed paintings of the Golden Temple, Lotus Temple, Akshardham Temple, Red Fort and some other monuments from the walls of the underpass of the Ashram under construction, after the Committee Delhi Gurdwara Sikh Management (DSGMC) and some Hindu groups opposed the artwork.

The 310-meter wall has now been repainted with “routine” street art and images of plants, trees and birds.

To avoid further objections and the resulting delays, the PWD also decided to follow the same plan for the expansion of the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) overflight project.

A senior PWD official working closely on the Ashram Underground Passage project said, “We wanted to make this section look ‘monumental’, and decided to paint the Golden Temple, Qutub Minar, Temple Lotus, Akshardham Temple, India Gate, Jama Masjid, Red Fort. For us, these places are historic, so we wanted to embellish the walls and also provide a good experience for commuters. The artists painted the walls on the Badarpur side and the opposite section, but we had to repaint completely due to objections.

The official said the length of the underpass is 410 meters, of which 310 meters have been embellished with paintings on both sides.

“It took place about three months ago. First of all, the gurdwara committee raised an objection, as a result of which we withdrew this painting. A day later, some people reported issues with the Lotus Temple and Akshardham Temple painted on the side of the road. They said people spit and urinate on the sides of the road, and these are places of worship. These problems were also delaying the work.

To avoid further disruption, the PWD canceled the “monumental theme” and decided to take a more low-key approach. When contacted, DSGMC Secretary General Harmeet Singh Kalka said: “Yes, we have filed a complaint to remove Darbar Sahib’s photo from the road. The Golden Temple is a sacred place of worship and its importance must be respected. You cannot draw his image on the side of the road.

The PWD official said the underpass had “already missed several deadlines due to the pandemic, labor shortages, alignment issues and the construction ban.” “We just want to finish the project soon,” the official said.

The official said 95% of the construction work is complete and there is still minor work, decoration and lighting. “The underpass is expected to open within a month, once the building ban is lifted. Work is left on only 17 meters of the section. Once the underpass is open to the public, the PWD will begin work on extending the DND flyover, ”added the official.

Currently, Ashram Chowk, Sarai Kale Khan, MDN, Bhogal, Badarpur, Mathura Road and Outer Ring Road sections are experiencing heavy traffic jams on a daily basis.

The delays have also been a cause of headaches for residents of neighboring areas such as Siddharth Extension, Kalindi Colony, Amar Colony, Lajpat Nagar, Ashram, Kilokri Village, New Friends Colony, Nehru Nagar and Sunlight Colony, as many commuters take the roads of the inner colony to avoid traffic jams at Ashram Chowk.

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