The decision to make middle and inner circle of Connaught Place in Central Delhi vehicle-free has not gone down well with the traders here who believe the move will not only cause discomfort to visitors but also affect the business. “This is a very absurd idea. CP is a commenrcial 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).
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“There is already 20-ft walking space in all the blocks for pedestrians and there is already shortage of parking space. 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,” he added. With an aim to decongest the area, the middle and the inner circular roads of Connaught Place in the heart of the national capital will be made vehicle-free from February for next three months on pilot basis.
The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting attended by officials from the Urban Development Ministry, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Delhi Police. The meeting was chaired by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu. While the NDMC officials said that the modalities for implementation of the decision will be finalised soon, the UD ministry said that ‘park and ride’ services from major parking areas at Shivaji Stadium, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Palika parking.
Total parking capacity at these three locations is 3,172 and on an average only 1,088 vehicles are being parked, they said, adding that the unutilised capacity could be fully used by promoting ‘park and ride’ concept. Besides cycle hiring, the battery operated vehicles would be deployed to take people to the business district.
The NDMC had last year mooted a proposal to make both Connaught Place and Khan Market, a vehicle free zone. While Naidu in last November had asked for making both the markets to be vehicle-free, no decision has been taken yet in this regard.