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Blog // Travel
February 2, 2006

Delhi’s Leading Fashion Mall Demolished

Something seemed amiss yesterday morning as I drove past the MG1 shopping mall near our home. There was a lot of commotion and the presence of a bulldozer in front of the fashionable arcade seemed a bit odd. It turns out that the local authority, the MCD was about to start demolishion of the retail […]

Something seemed amiss yesterday morning as I drove past the MG1 shopping mall near our home. There was a lot of commotion and the presence of a bulldozer in front of the fashionable arcade seemed a bit odd. It turns out that the local authority, the MCD was about to start demolishion of the retail home of many of India’s finest and most sucessful fashion designers.

Not so long ago the High Court had found that the MCD was failing to act upon illegal construction in the Captial. However, it must be said that the MCD faces an uneviable task, given that something between 60 and 80 percent of all construction in Delhi seems to unathorised or illegal in some form or another. It appears that the MCD has chosen a very high profile target in order to improve its standing.

MG1 is an iconic building in Delhi. Naturally, the demolition has carried with it a wave of protest and media attention. However, I recal when I first moved to Delhi having MG1 pointed out to me as a being both symbolic of India’s fashionable elite and also emblematic of less-than-legal building practices.

In the end I’m just not sure whether I agree with the demolition of these sorts of buildings or not. I guess that is one for longterm residents of this city to debate, decide and vote over. But, I do find it wantonly destructive. In this country, much of that building could have been salvaged and put to good use, instead of just being obliterated. Moreover, the people who will be most hurt by the action are not the shopowners who have the means to relocate their businesses. Rather, it is ordinary folk who will lose the cleaning, maintenance and general jobs around the building (as well as the fruit and food stallowners along the MG road who will see a drop in custom). Moreover, in these kinds of demolitions, the building is never really razed, rather what is left is a dangerous, partly demolished shell which soon becomes a dangerous playground for young children.

The whole thing just plain reeks of wastefulness. In a country with so much poverty and with such a fight for resources, such wastefulness may be the greatest crime in all this.

[tags] Delhi, MG1, MCD, India [/tags]

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