An eye opener for the young and old alike – CP’s Underground Services Tunnel

Delhi, in the wake of 2010 common wealth games, had to endure inconveniences at most of the places due to ongoing infrastructural projects. The next CWG is around the corner, a few of the projects are still long way from completion, even after four years. One of the locations that was seen dug all over was the Connaught Place, which is still some way from complete recovery.

I came across an article about the CP’s new wonder, an underground services tunnel! and that it was thrown open to the public to see for seven days before it got officially commissioned, claimed to be one of a kind gift to the city dwellers who frequent to CP, a hundred-year old shopping destination in the heart of the capital.

I was keen to take the family, especially kids. After a couple of attempts, finally managed to take three young, curious minds – Mallika, Nandu and Miku – along with the very young Svwara and family. The visit was an eye-opener not only to the young brigade, but also to all adults.

The underground service tunnel
The 1.8 km underground tunnel, two story tall and 30ft wide, runs all around CP, underneath the middle circle enclosing within, various ducts and pipelines, that service this bustling market place. It is a wonderful showcase of the urban planning and development that every city across the nation can easily follow. After Delhi Metro, that has become a standard for public transport in major cities, I see this will be a standard for services maintenance and delivery.

The engineers facilitating the young brigade and the old alike
When we descended through one of the gates into the tunnel, close to Palika Bazaar, we were greeted by a couple of Engineers from Shapoorji Pallonji, the executer of the project. They were very friendly and were encouraging questions and responding eagerly too.

Our discovery –

The multi-tiered structures that carry various electric and data cables to the entire CP network
There are 8-9 tiers of neatly organized conduits of wires going through the two story high tunnel.
a. High tension wires those carry load to the transformers etc
b. supply to the consumers from these transformers
c. The data cables that carry telephony and data
All these are cleanly organized, insulated and made sure that one does not interfere with the other. Data lines are located farthest from the high tension wires. Ample precautions have been taken so that under any eventuality, any accident can be responded to immediately. For a few of the ducts, water pipelines are laid, and for a few gas and hand held fire extinguishers are provided, based on the requirement. All handy and easily executable

Then there are larger pipelines, distinctly color coded –

The color coded pipelines that carry water for various purposes – RED, BLUE and GREEN; with safety valves
A. Red colored for the fire safety network. They carry water to the network of points, located all across CP so that any fire can be doused with those outlet and one need not depend or wait for fire-extinguishers to reach the spot through crowded markets. The response could be within a few seconds
B. The second set of pipelines, color coded, blue carry fresh municipal water to all the blocks, offices, houses and shops for regular usage
C. The third set of pipes, green, carry the rain water and such for recycling and dispersal, for watering the parks and green belts within CP…

The whole complex is monitored by a high-tech control unit which keeps track of temperature, pressure variations in order spot any malfunctioning, accordingly switches on or off the systems as and when need arises. Also it takes care of cooling and air-conditioning of the whole underground tunnel.

It was an eye-opener for me and the young brigade too. They were so enamoured of the complex that they wrote interesting feedbacks in the books placed there in.

All in all, it was a wonderful exercise for one and all..

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