The barricades at Connaught Place (CP) have been removed, for now.
Delhi Police on Saturday removed the blue sheets of tin put up around the eight subways under renovation in the city’s commercial heart by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation as part of 240-day project to renovate old subways and build new ones.
A final decision on this will be taken on Monday.
The barricades had shrunk the road space to half in CP's outer circle.
The traffic police was forced to take the decisive step after almost a week of traffic snarls and protests by the traders who complained they were not taken into confidence by the civic body when the project was okayed and that their business had suffered as a result.
The Delhi Traffic Police sent a letter to the civic body on Saturday morning, seeking the removal of barricades in the middle and the outer circles, where construction work was yet to begin, and also to “rethink its plans”. By evening, gaps had been opened in the barricades around four subways and the normal flow of vehicles restored.
Construction is yet to begin on another four subways.
“The concerns of the New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) were not taken into account by the NDMC when it planned the construction work of these subways,” said Ajay Chaddha, special commissioner of police (traffic).
“We have written a letter and asked them to remove barricades where construction is yet to begin. We will convene a meeting to re-look and revise the plans.”
On Friday, representatives of the NDTA had met Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal, informing him that their business had gone down by 75 per cent due to the chaos.
“People are not coming to CP anymore. We have suffered losses between 60 and 75 per cent in the past five days. They (NDMC) should have carried out the construction work in phases; people hardly use subways,” said Atul Bhargava, President, NDTA.
The NDMC, in the meantime, said it was not possible to construction the subways in a phased manner. “Barricades have caused problems in combination with (the rush caused by) the auto expo (being held at Pragati Maidan) and the fog. It is not possible to construct the subways in a phased manner,” said NDMC spokesman Anand Tiwari.
Speaking about the fate of the project, Chaddha said, “A meeting will be convened on Monday, involving all the stakeholders, where the construction work will be reviewed.”