Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu told the New Delhi Municipal Council on Wednesday to convert Connaught Place and Khan Market into ‘No Vehicle Zones’ through proper traffic management.
He was concerned about the city’s air pollution and traffic congestion. He batted for a car-free Central Delhi.
“Expressing concern over poor maintenance, look and feel of road from the airport to Connaught Place, Naidu directed the NDMC and south corporation to intervene and give it pathways and landscaping so that it looks world class,” a civic body official said.
The council has been working to make these stretches ‘No Vehicles Zone’ as part of its smart city proposal, a senior council official said.
The announcement did not go down well with traders in both posh markets.
Khan Market traders said the move will only welcome hawkers. “The biggest reason why Khan Market sees a lot of people above the age of 40 is because they feel safe. Now if you pedestrianise the area, they will stop coming as cars will be parked far away and hawkers will start encroaching. Khan Market is a high street market, not a mall,” said Khan Market Traders Association president, Sanjeev Mehra.
NDMC and the government should instead focus on stopping cars coming from north and west Delhi who take the market’s route to go to Sunder Nagar, Golf Links and so on, Mehra said.
CP traders said it would lead to long jams in the Outer Circle and all the way till Mandi House. “We saw what happened on Yoga Day when this was implemented. This plan is no longer feasible because the number of cars have increased the load of which the Outer Circle won’t be able to take it,” said New Delhi Traders Association president, Atul Bhargawa.
The minister, who reviewed the progress of implementation of the smart city project of the NDMC on Wednesday, has given a set of directions to the council.
NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar said the smart plan is based on smart water management, energy grid, education and healthcare.