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Metro creating a marvel in Walled City

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI JAN. 7. Making innovative use of technology, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is constructing an underground station in the highly congested area of Hauz Quazi here with the assistance of a dedicated team of engineers and experts from a number of nations.

The construction work on this Metro station, which is nine floors below ground level, is likely to be completed by July this year and become operational by September 2005. There are nearly 800 residential and commercial buildings above the station, a number of them more than a century old and in a bad shape.

"It is the most challenging task for the Metro so far," the DMRC Chief Project Manager (Metro Corridor), Mangu Singh, told a group of city reporters who were taken below the Chawri Bazar Metro station on Tuesday morning. "First, there was hardly any open space located in this part of the Capital, and it was also essential to locate the station in this busy and highly congested area. Second was acquisition of private properties as conventional technologies would have required a large number of residential ones to be acquired and demolished, resulting in social unrest. We avoided all this. We proceeded in a systematic manner," he said.

One of the connections to the station was located at Hauz Quazi Chowk, the only open space in the locality. As this was not enough for construction of the station underneath, the old Amar cinema hall was acquired on the other end of the Chawri Bazar station. These two small spaces on the surface were used to construct the station below by using the New Austrian Tunnelling Method.

One of the tunnels between Hauz Quazi and Amar cinema has been completed, while work on second is under progress. "Two large tunnels will serve two tracks separately and will also house the adjoining platforms," Mr. Singh said.

Further in order to provide easy access to the commuters to either platform, the two tunnels are interconnected by six cross-passages at intervals of 20-25 metres. Provision of these cross-passages also allows for access to both the platforms through a common set of staircases and escalators have been provided at the entry and exit.

Replying to media queries, Mr. Singh said at Hauz Quazi a large number of utilities were criss-crossing the entire area which were shifted before excavations began. "Adjoining buildings were strengthened so that the impact of making 30 metres deep excavation was minimal in the surroundings," he said. The platform tunnels are excavated in three parts -- top, middle and bottom -- in horseshoe shape.

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