The High Court’s decision to ban the cycle rickshaws on the busy Chandni Chowk and surrounding areas has become a difficult task for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to meet. At a time when developed countries have been promoting the use of green transport such as cycle rickshaw, Delhi on the other hand has been limiting their use in the city.
Unable to rein them in the civic body has been coming up with various strategies, the latest to join the league is the deployment of ex-servicemen to restrict rickshaws from entering the banned areas.
Not only this, the 40 odd ex-servicemen who would be positioned at various points in the walled city would confiscate all rickshaws plying on Chandni Chowk and would dismantled them.
“Lack of enforcement in Chandni Chowk area by the Delhi traffic police has resulted in rickshaws coming back on the streets eventhough they had been banned initially. We have now decided to deploy ex servicemen, who will confiscate all rickshaws whether licensed or unlicensed plying on banned streets. They will be sent to city zone stores to be scrapped within seven days,” said a senior MCD official.
These ex servicemen would keep a constant vigil from 8 am to 8 pm on rickshaws entering the banned area. Earlier the licensed rickshaws were not dismantled if they were found entering the banned area, though they were given a verbal warning.
“We had a meeting recently wherein it was decided that to decongest the area we will take stern action such as confiscating the rickshaws and dismantle them,” said MCD Commissioner K.S. Mehra.
In a bid to ease the traffic mess in the area, cycle rickshaws, hand carts and animal driven vehicles were banned on Chandni Chowk road, Esplanade Road (from Link Road to Chandni Chowk), Church Mission Road, Town Hall Road and HC Sen Marg by the High Court.
After the ban, a CNG-run bus service was started on June 9, 2007 to help commuters on these roads.
But visitors in the area complain that these buses are jam-packed and they prefer using the rickshaw for their personal comfort.