As Indians, we are familiar with the concept of multiple names. Yet, it would be strange, downright confusing and often unintendedly amusing if the same is applied to city roads and bylanes. But in Dwarka this is not an exception but almost a norm.
Coming across boards announcing different names for a same crossing, is a common sight in Dwarka. It is an ailment which seems to have taken over the whole subcity. The causes are multiple, from business interest, to local pride and local politics.
Almost all the chowks in Dwarka have more than one name. They come to be named either by its nearest societies or any other institution near it such as Lovely Chowk, Ganpati Chowk, Kargil Chowk, Vivekanand Chowk, KM Chowk, Shakti chowk, Kaveri Chowk, Suryodaya Chowk and many more.
People often get confused here as they witness more than one board suggesting different names of the same road. One can see such multiple names like Jain Mandir Chowk-Ashoka Chowk(same), Carmel Chowk-DGS chowk(same) etc.
A social activist and resident of Sector 6, SK Sharma says, "Naming the chowks in Dwarka has become a tradition. I have been noticing this trend for years. When you visit in the city you would find several chowks in the name of the societies in the nearby locations. At some of the places, you might be confused as to what is the actual name of the chowks as there are more than one boards announing different names for the same place."
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While moving across Dwarka, you can find a number of chowks with many names- Kaveri Chowk- Shakti Chowk in Sector 5, KM Chowk- Gurudwarak Chowk – Cosy Chowk in sector 11-12, Ashoka Chowk- Jain Mandir Chowk in Sector 12/4, DGS Chowk –Mount Carmel crossing in Sector 20/22, Vivekanand Chowk-Kargil Chowk Sector 18/19 etc.
More such chowks are emerging with boards fixed on the footpaths and crossings.
A deeper observation tells us that people are naming chowks for promoting their businesses.
Priya Singh, a resident of Sector 4 says, "You can witness Ashoka Chowk, Ispatika Chowk, Sambhav Chowk, Osho Dhara Chowk, Peepal Chowk, ISCOKN chowk and so on. It seems that people can get any new board installed at any crossing or road. This is a prevalent practice. Not only this but also people are now using the chowks for their branding by naming them after their institutions, setups and other such things, all aimed at promoting their business."
RTI activist Ramesh Mumukshu, a resident of Sector 16, says, "In my knowledge there is no rule from the authority to stop this. Here, the name 'Aashirvad Chowk' (chowk of sector 4/5/11/12) is famous and we have been using it for more than half a decade. There is no sign board but we call it by this name because we have Aashirvad Apartments in this vicinity. Similarly there are many such names like KM Chowk and Vidyut Chowk whose boards are missing from the place yet they are popularly known by these names. Even the authorities recognise these areas in their map using such names."
On the subject, DP Vajpeyee, president Dwarka Lok Kalyan Manch says, "This is a violation of the rules of authorities. This is nothing but the violation of anti- defacement law of the Municipal Corporation. How can someone name any place out of his/her interest and choice. DDA and Municipal Corporation should make a policy to stop such naming of chowks and should make joint efforts to stop this practice in Dwarka. They should name the chowks and roads as per the law and the suggestions of the community. There must be regularity in that."
One of the DDA officials said on the subject that there is no such rule that allows anyone to name the chowk in the sub city and never has DDA named any chowk there. Naming the chowks in this manner is illegal. "We remove the boards on complaint and the process is continuous in the sub city. In the case of public convenience and popularity of a particular place associated with the road, it is considered by the committee of Delhi Government. However, it should only be presented by DDA to the committee."