This maze takes your breath away!

This maze takes your breath away!

This maze takes your breath away!

Eight-year-old Nimesh Vats looks at the dozens of red, green, blue and silver pipes criss-crossing above his head and quips, “Is this a video game?” 

The fact is that NDMC’s newly completed service corridor below Connaught Place does give a sci-fi movie experience, that too, with just the 200 metres of the 1.2 km long tunnel opened to the public right now. Just next to Palika Bazaar’s Gate no. 1, a rat-hole like entry leads to a flurry of steps underground and voila! You have a gigantic passageway with endless trays systematically holding cables running all around CP’s Middle Circle.

Work on this service corridor – a one-of-its-kind engineering feat in India – started in January 2010 and was finished about four months back. Now it has been opened to the public on the occasion of New Delhi Municipal Corporation completing 100 years of existence.
Nagendra Pal Singh, deputy manager, Engineers India Limited (EIL) – the company behind this feat - informs us, “Such kinds of service corridors exist abroad. There is one in London but nothing of this sort had been attempted in India. In 2010, when NDMC realised that all the service pipes catering to CP had outlived their years (CP came to existence in 1930), and a total revamp was needed, this service tunnel was planned.”

“The idea is that all pipes should be systematically laid in a corridor facility where cracks and faults can be detected and repaired at a moment’s notice.” Previously, of course, NDMC had to move earth, damage some adjoining pipes and the actual repair would take months. 

At the entry point of the tunnel itself, a photo exhibition has been arranged complete with texts explaining how the construction was done. We are told a technology called ‘top-down-method’ was employed to put up 14-feet high underground walls one at a time, so that the 80-year-old heritage structures of Connaught Place don’t come tumbling down.

There are pictures which show the beautification of CP, done immediately after the tunnel work, as well. So we see brand new parking slots, pedestrian pathways around them, seating facilities, new lightings etc.

The service corridor, meanwhile, stuffs all previously-ugly-looking cables ranging from phone lines to water lines to irrigation lines and electricity cables. There are provisions for air condition facilities and gas pipelines too. Earlier, CP did not provide sprinklers for fire fighting to each shop, but now lines have been laid for that as well.

The pipes are all nicely colour-coded – blue for water, green for irrigation and red for the fire-fighting sprinkler system.

Sachin Kanesh, another engineer with EIL, says, “NDMC has faced a lot of flak for the continuous digging at CP in the past few years. With the service corridor, we are hopeful that no such mess-making will be required for the coming half-a-century at least.”