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The Delhi Police has raised objections to the AAP government’s plans for a ‘car-free day’ on October 22, pointing out logistical problems in organising the event as Dussehra falls on the same day. Citing Durga idol immersion and a possible visit to the area by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on that day, police have asked the government to reschedule the event.
The government had planned to implement the initiative on the stretch from Red Fort to India Gate, through ITO.
Reluctant to shelve the much-publicised event, the Delhi government has now proposed to make it a half-day affair, which will get over before Dussehra festivities or VVIP movements begin in the area.
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The Delhi police’s traffic department and the transport ministry had held a meeting on Thursday to take stock of the issue, said Transport Minister Gopal Rai.
“The meeting was attended by all concerned agencies and had representatives of Delhi Police as well. We proposed to make it a half-day event, rather than holding it throughout the day, as announced earlier. We knew there would be VVIP movement. We (government and Delhi Police) will organise the event and if some issue comes up, we will work towards resolving it,” said Rai.
On Friday, Special Commissioner (Traffic) Muktesh Chander wrote to Delhi Chief Secretary K K Sharma, mentioning the police’s objections and reservations to conducting the programme on that stretch.
“We have written to the Delhi government, saying the event observing car-free day would not be possible on October 22 and the date should be changed as Dussehra will be observed on the same day. People would also be participating in the immersion of Durga idols. If we observe car-free day on that stretch, then the vehicle load will have to be shifted to alternative routes, causing huge jams,” stated Sandeep Goel, joint commissioner of police, traffic.
Rai had, last week, announced the date of the car-free day celebrations, and the government has already started preparing for the event. The car-free day is to be observed on a stretch that falls between the Red Fort and India Gate, via Daryaganj. The stretch covers Delhi Gate and ITO as well.
A senior official said, “The announcement was made following a meeting between the Delhi government and the traffic police. The police seems to have realised late that the day falls in the middle of the festive season. This initiative has to be carried out mutually. Now, if the dates are changed, separate advertisements will have to be prepared to re-publicise the event.”