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Row over ' Birla road'.

A SMALL lane near Lodhi Garden has become a bone of contention. Reason: christening of the lane. It's a fight between 'two big shots'. And there are people lobbying for the late dignitaries -- industrialist K.K. Birla and social activist Durgabai Deshmukh.

Members of the Council for Social Development (CSD), located in the unnamed lane, are up in arms over the New Delhi Municipal Council's (NDMC) reported move to name the lane after Birla.

They want the lane to be named after Deshmukh. They argue Birla had no association with the road whereas the CSD, founded by Deshmukh in 1970, is the oldest building in the lane. The CSD members said they had come to know that Birla's name was being pushed by "powerful people with vested interests".

"Through our sources, we came to know that the NDMC is pushing K.K. Birla's name. This is not done at all. He has had no role to play in that lane. Durgabai Deshmukh is an icon for social activists in India. The road should be named after her," said Suhas Borkar of the citizens' committee for Durgabai Deshmukh Veethi. "She was a freedom fighter, parliamentarian, member of the Planning Commission, a pioneer in social development and the founder and first president of the Social Welfare Board.

We do not understand how and why efforts are being made to name the lane after Birla when he has no obvious connection with it," he said.

Borkar alleged that people with vested interests had requested Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit earlier this month to consider naming the road after Birla.

But the CSD had apparently approached the government with its request much earlier since 2009 is Deshmukh's birth centenary year.

" CSD chairman Muchkund Dubey had formally written to the Delhi government and it had responded positively. The government had assured that the matter would be taken up at the next meeting of the authorised committee after the general elections," Borkar said.

The NDMC denied pushing Birla's name for this particular lane. " There are two separate lanes in the area and we have forwarded the names of both Birla and Deshmukh to the Delhi government for each of these for final approval," said NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari.

Contesting his claim, Borkar said there was only one unnamed lane in the area.

The other one, in which gate number three of Lodhi Garden opens, is already named Joseph Stein lane, he said.

And if one thinks why such a big fuss over the name of just a small lane, here's the answer. It's a posh locality and the address of some famous institutions. The lane houses the buildings of the Unicef, Alliance Francaise, the World Bank and Intach, among others.


The MCD receives proposals from citizens or councillors. A 15-member committee headed by the mayor sends the proposals to the MCD commissioner's office for its scrutiny. It refers the matter back to the committee which finally clears the name.

In NDMC's case, anyone can send a letter to its chairman. The NDMC clears the proposal and sends it to the State Naming Authority under Delhi government's urban development department for final approval.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Oct 30, 2009
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