Muslims Fear Displacement from Jama Masjid Area as Agra Metro Project Moves Forward

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Caravan News

NEW DELHI – The Ministry of Railways, UP government and the local administration of Agra are actively involved in the planning for Agra Metro Rail project.

According to a report published on India Today’s website, as per an estimate at least 10,000 houses and commercial establishments will come in the demolition zone when the Metro will be constructed through the densely populated city which has already triggered voices against the project in Agra.

These voices are getting louder as the project advances as was seen when the Metro project team reached the Jama Masjid area of the old city for a survey.

A large group of local residents surrounded the team and demanded that the Metro project be scrapped altogether or at least kept away from their area as the city does not need a Metro.

Talking to IndiaToday.in, Sami Aghai, Chairman of Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad (BMVP) said that there is no need for a Metro train in a small city like Agra. If the entire project is not scrapped, then at least the Jama Masjid route should be removed from the detailed project report (DPR) of Agra Metro as the streets here are very narrow and construction of the Metro will cause massive displacement of the local population.

Sami Aghai said, “These streets are used for prayers on Friday when thousands of Muslims come to Jama Masjid for weekly prayers. The festival of Eid is celebrated in this area around the mosque and at that time, the roads get jam-packed with Muslims and if the roads are taken away by the Metro project, there will hardly be any space around the mosque left to handle such huge crowds.”

Social activist Vijay Upadhyay said that instead of the Metro project, the local administration and state government should think about improving the state of roads in the city and regulate the traffic on these roads.

“The entire city was suffering from drainage problems and instead of investing in improving the existing infrastructure of the city, a huge financial burden of the Metro project was being laid on the city’s back which will only harm its economy,” Vijay Upadhyay said.

Hindustani Biradari Vice-Chairman Vishal Sharma said that Agra is a tourist city and the first priority for the administration should be to improve the city’s facilities so that the tourists do not get stuck in traffic jams.

“These jams tarnish the image of the city and the need of the hour is to ensure that the traffic moves smoothly. There was no need of a Metro in the city as the city wasn’t that big to necessitate a Metro train. The Metro is being unnecessarily used as a status symbol,” Vishal Sharma.

Talking to IndiaToday.in, Agra Vyapar Mandal President TN Agarwal said that the Jama Masjid area is the bulk market for garments and fabrics and every day, transactions worth crores take place here.

“When the Metro project is constructed, this entire market will be displaced and the livelihood of hundreds of shopkeepers will be destroyed. The local administration should have consulted these shopkeepers before finalising the DPR. The businessmen of Agra are not against the Metro project, but if the project creates financial difficulties for the local residents, then what is the use of it?” TN Agarwal asked.


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