The decision to make inner and middle circle in Connaught Place pedestrian only, albeit for three months as part of a pilot project, has got mixed response from traders and shoppers.
While traders feel it is a decision which the agencies will regret from Day 1, visitors say it can help free up the always congested spot in the heart of Delhi.
“We are totally opposed to it. This is a commercial centre, not a tourist destination. In any commercial centre, you need commercial vehicles to come. You can regulate it, not strangulate it. Closing vehicular movement in inner and middle circles will choke outer circle even more,” New Delhi Traders Association president Atul Bhargava said.
Traders say after a dip in business due to demonetisation, this will hit footfall, and as a result, trade will be impacted further.
“Connaught Place first started losing customers due to the construction of Metro station at Rajiv Chowk, then the redevelopment bid before Commonwealth Games. We are still reeling from demonetisation and now this!” an apparel trader, who wished not to be named, said.
Most shoppers and visitors, however, feel it is a positive move, which will help decongest CP.
Sapna Shah, a student who came to shop with her friends, said no cars in CP won’t cause any problems for most visitors as metro is still accessible. “With Rajiv Chowk station being here, it is ok if cars aren’t allowed. People will have more space to walk around,” Shah said.
Another visitor, Tamal Roy, said with most corners of the city getting packed with parked vehicles, some vehicle-free zones will come as a relief.
Pradip Singh, a Lajpat Nagar resident, however, questioned the alternative for people coming with private vehicles. “If I bring my car and have to park 2-3 km away, will there be facilities for me? If yes, then there shouldn’t be any problem,” he said.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) which is implementing the project says it would introduce customised battery-operated vehicles for public transport within the Inner Circle of CP, while parking would be allowed in the outer circle and at Palika Bazar. It is also thinking about giving incentives to people who park in the under-utilised automated parking lot at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, an official said.