Amid traders opposing the plan of making Connaught Place a vehicle-free zone, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is holding consultations with various stakeholders to deal with their apprehensions and come up with a foolproof plan. “A belief that traders will face loss of business because of turning CP into vehicle-free zone is a myth. There are so many visitors who want to take the metro to CP and avoid going there because of the vehicle rush. We have got to know about the concerns of the traders,” NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar said.
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“Consultations are on with various stakeholders and the final plan for the transition will be chalked out on basis of the discussions only,” he added. The decision to make the middle and the inner circular roads of Connaught Place vehicle-free from February was taken last week at a meeting chaired by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and attended by officials from the Urban Development Ministry, NDMC and Delhi Police.
Miffed with the move, the New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) has decided to approach Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi against the decision. The traders contend that Connaught Place has ample space for pedestrians but less parking area. “There is enough parking space but it has not been utilised at all. The Palika car parking has a capacity of 1200 but not even 30 per cent of it is occupied on a daily basis. Similarly, Baba Kharak Singh Marg parking, which is one of the largest parkings globally, is not even 20 per cent utilised,” Kumar added.
In its budget presented on Friday for 2017-18, the NDMC has allocated Rs 125 crore for a sensor-based parking management system and a project for smart roads and road safety. The NDMC had last year mooted a proposal to make both Connaught Place and Khan Market vehicle-free zones. While Naidu had in November last asked for making both the markets vehicle-free, no decision has been taken yet in this regard.
The middle and inner circular roads of CP in the heart of the national capital will be vehicle-free from February for next three months on pilot basis, a move aimed at decongesting the area.