Traders of Connaught Place will shut shops from 11am to 3pm on Tuesday to “silently gather, talk and decide the next course of action” against the plan to pedestrianise the 84-year-old shopping hub by banning entry of vehicles into the area.
“We oppose this idea of car-free Connaught Place. We will be closing our shops and members of the New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) will discuss the NDMC’s proposals for the implementation of the proposed car-free project. There will be a gathering near C Block where we will hear everyone’s opinion to decide the next course of action,” Atul Bhargava of the NDTA told HT.
The three-month car-free Connaught Place trial run, which was slated to kick off on February 1, is yet to start due to lack of unanimity over execution of the plan among the stakeholders, including the traders.
The plan, which was given the go-ahead by the Union urban development ministry after extensive talks with New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and traffic police officials in early January, aims to decongest the heritage shopping arcade in central Delhi.
However, it can be called off before its full proposed duration of three months, based on the response, NDMC officials have said.
“In a meeting last week with all stakeholders, the New Delhi Municipal Council proposed two plans. According to the first, cars will be allowed to enter from Janpath, people will alight at Palika Bazar or Palika Parking and make exit through Baba Khadak Singh Marg. As per second plan cars will be allowed in the Middle Circle but only to drop visitors and shoppers,” Bhargava said.
The traders have also met Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal over the issue. After that he had convened a meeting with commissioner of police, NDMC chairperson, the joint secretary responsible for this project in the Union urban development ministry and Delhi chief secretary, NDTA members say.