Centre’s move of making capital’s shopping hub Connaught Place a vehicle-free zone has received a mix reaction. While the shoppers have welcomed the move, which will be on a 3-month trial starting February, the traders are terming the move as one that will not only cause discomfort to visitors but also affect the business.
On Thursday, the central government had announced the decision with an aim to decongest the area, the middle and the inner circular roads of Connaught Place.
At a meeting held by the Minister of Urban Development, Venkaiah Naidu, which was attended by the officials of NDMC, Delhi Police, it was stressed that “congestion free, accident free and crime free experience of visitors shall be the objective” of this move, called as “pedestrianisation”.
The officials also deliberated on the alternative facilities for the shoppers and visitors on the line of ‘park and ride’.
“Cycle hiring, battery operated vehicles etc. would be deployed effectively for the benefit of those parking vehicles at specified slots to reach the business district and also for the benefit of those using public transport besides senior citizens, women and children,” the government press release said.
The agencies are also working on how best the available parking space, post the traffic restrictions, could be used.
“…in the space available, landscaping, development of water bodies to act as humidifier in the walking zone, light and sound shows, side walk cafes, public plazas, organizing street festivals were discussed,” the release added.
However, the decision to decongest the national capital’s one of the most business retail shopping hub has not gone down well with the traders.
“This is a very absurd idea. CP is a commercial centre, not a tourist destination. The moment inner circle will be made vehicle-free, the outer circle will be choked. We have already seen a demo on the Yoga day,” said Atul Bhargava, president, New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA).
“How many visitors will prefer parking their vehicles at Shivaji stadium or Shankar market and take a shared ride to CP to shop or eat? The business will obviously suffer,” Bhargava added.
The decision has come after the NDMC had last year mooted a proposal to make both Connaught Place and Khan Market, a vehicle free zone.
(With inputs from the Agencies)