Traders of Connaught Place Tuesday spoke out against the Delhi government’s proposal to close the Inner Circle and parking lots to traffic for the Diwali laser show between October 26 and 29, and said they will hold protests if it is done.
Claiming that the move will hit businesses during the festive season, Atul Bhargava, president of the New Delhi Traders’ Association (NDTA), said, “We are the main stakeholders of the place, and we were not included in the discussion or informed at all. If they block vehicles, we will protest… maybe even close CP.”
Announcing the event Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the laser show will take place from 6-10 pm over the four days. While cars will not be allowed in the Inner Circle, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said special parking facilities at nearby locations have been made. “Why do you need cars in the Inner Circle? Traders should in fact thank us for doubling sales,” Kejriwal said.
The association has approached Sisodia, the New Delhi Municipal Council, traffic police and the district magistrate over the decision. “While we support the show, we don’t want road and parking closures. We are trying to find a middle path,” said Bhargava.
An AAP spokesperson said, “The CM addressed this issue at the press conference Monday and said traders will only profit from the move.” NDMC secretary Rashmi Singh said: “The Delhi government is organising this. We are playing a supportive role.”
Roopak Sharma, owner of a Raymond showroom in the Inner Circle, said, “Business has been stagnant… this move will hit it further.”
Amarjeet, manager at a Bata store, said, “Diwali is good business time. If cars are not allowed, footfall will decrease.”