The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which is yet to start its three-month car-free plan in Connaught Place, claims to be making arrangements for the project to be implemented at the earliest.
The plan, which was given a go-ahead by the Union urban development ministry after extensive talks with the NDMC and traffic police officials in early January, aimed at decongesting the central Delhi commercial hotspot by making it only for pedestrians.
The council is now trying to acquire more electric cars for its ‘park-and-ride’ service, where these cars would be used to carry people from Shivaji Stadium parking lot to the inner circle of Connaught Place.
According to NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar, five electric cars have already been procured by the civic agency and it is now looking to get more cars to make it a 10-20 vehicle fleet.
“It is sort of a precursor to car-free Connaught Place plan. We are in the process of getting more of these vehicles,” Naresh Kumar told HT, adding that the plan will be implemented at the earliest.
The NDMC has also procured six electric scooters for its staff to keep a watch on illegally parked vehicles in the inner circle of Connaught Place.
Earlier, the traders had opposed the move, as they felt the plan would choke the outer circle even more and hit their business. They had met Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal over the issue, after the L-G convened a meeting with commissioner of police, NDMC chairperson, the joint secretary responsible for this project in the Union urban development ministry, and the Delhi chief secretary.
In order to decongest the heritage shopping arcade, nearly 2,000 parking spaces were supposed to be removed — including 1,500 from the inner circle and 400-500 from the middle Circle — as this site with a daily footfall of nearly 5 lakh was proposed to be turned into pedestrians-only.
The authorities had proposed two ways to implement the project. According to the first plan, cars will be allowed to enter from Janpath: people will alight at Palika Bazar or Palika Parking, and will exit through Baba Khadak Singh Marg. The second plan proposes that cars will be allowed in the middle circle but only to drop visitors and shoppers, making it a no-parking zone.
Had the car-free CP plan been implemented from February 1 as it was proposed, it would have been completed by April 30.
The civic body is now also considering incentives to encourage people to make use of the underutilised automated parking lot at Baba Kharak Singh Marg.