The work of redeveloping Connaught Place has picked up pace in the past few weeks. However, with an increased accumulation of debris, the little space to walk has shrunk even further.
Several areas of the market have heavy machinery and construction debris parked alongside each other. The CP traders’ body has now requested the contractor to remove them both.
“Many heavy machines, steel containers as well as debris are of no use. We have requested the contractor to remove all items that won’t be used further in the work,” said Atul Bhargava, president of the New Delhi Traders Association.
As the Diwali season approaches, traders have to begin dressing up the market and need the pavement free for shoppers. Sources hinted that construction in the market will stop on November 1 and will resume once the puja season is over.
The traders have also requested the contractor to make the market safer for pedestrians by putting up signages wherever construction is on. Several portions of the market have been dug up, leading to open manholes, iron rods jutting out and unsafe pavements.
Shoppers and traders said they had to be very careful while walking in the market as there are no barricades or sign boards marking the construction area. “I was walking in front of the Regal Cinema when I almost fell into a hole in the pavement. There were no signboards signalling the hole,” said Pragya Narang whose office is on Barakhamba Road.
Pradeep Chaturvedi, a safety expert, who also has authored books on safety, said such lapses in pedestrian safety have been the norm since work began in CP in 2009. “No one is concerned about the shoppers in CP, who are at a constant risk of getting hurt,” he said.
Chaturvedi also said the contractor should at least demarcate the area with yellow and black tape if iron barricading is not possible.
A senior official of NDMC has however said they will start putting up barricades soon. “The work requires several small-scale diggings and we have tried our best to ensure safety. But all bigger works have been barricaded,” the official said.