A month after Central Vista opened, paan stains, parking prove a headache for CPWD

Updated on Oct 07, 2022 07:04 AM IST

A senior traffic police officer, who did not want to be named, said the parking space crunch was hampering the traffic flow around the India Gate C-Hexagon and on its radial roads, especially during rush hour and on weekends when a large number of people visit the Central Vista Avenue

What is becoming a big problem for the sanitation staff is cleaning the betel stains off the walls and pavements. The security guards and sanitation workers say it is difficult to stop people from spitting. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
What is becoming a big problem for the sanitation staff is cleaning the betel stains off the walls and pavements. The security guards and sanitation workers say it is difficult to stop people from spitting. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

A month after the revamped Central Vista Avenue was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, keeping the area clean and managing the traffic, especially during peak hours, has become a major challenge. The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which is the nodal agency for the project, said over 350 people are deployed to keep the area clean.

What is becoming a big problem for the sanitation staff is cleaning the betel stains off the walls and pavements. The security guards and sanitation workers say it is difficult to stop people from spitting.

“There are betel stains on the walls of the pedestrian underpasses and pavements. It is difficult to clear the stains from the Kota stone on the walls or the Lakha granite used on the pavements. Every evening, we use scrubber machines and special chemicals to remove the stains,” said a supervisor of sanitation workers.

A senior CPWD official said, “The footfall at the avenue has increased manifold. Close to a 100,000 people visit during the weekends and because of the high footfall, keeping the area clean is a major challenge.”

Traffic and lack of parking

Due to the high footfall, traffic management has also become a concern. Traffic officials said paucity of parking facilities was affecting traffic flow. Though there are six parking lots at the venue with space to accommodate 1,100 plus vehicles and 40 buses, only four are currently operational.

The CPWD official quoted above said, “We have handed over four parking lots to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) with space to park 800 vehicles and 35 buses.”

A senior traffic police officer, who did not want to be named, said the parking space crunch was hampering the traffic flow around the India Gate C-Hexagon and on its radial roads, especially during rush hour and on weekends when a large number of people visit the Central Vista Avenue.

“The number of vehicles coming to Central Vista Avenue is a lot more now, especially on weekends and holidays. Of the four parking spaces, people mostly try for the two lots at the C-Hexagon-Man Singh Road and that leads to jams on the India Gate Circle,” the officer said.

On being asked why the gates of the two parking lots at C-Hexagon were closed by the police, the officer said that is done whenever there is a huge crowd. “Movement of vehicles is badly affected on the C-Hexagon when motorists try to use the enter/exit of parking slots number 1 and 2.So we ensure that the two lots are accessed only from Man Singh Road, where traffic volume is low,” the officer added.

A senior police officer said barricades installed in front of the entrance at India Gate will not be removed any soon for security reasons; however barricades around the area will be removed in a phased manner. “We have spoken to CPWD and the barricades will be removed once grilles are installed at intersections. The barricades are currently installed to curtail jaywalking,” the officer said.

Street vendors struggle to get licence

Street vendors say they are yet to get permission from the NDMC to hawk their trade at Central Vista. While 90 ice-cream trolley vendors have been given permission, though not on Kartavya Path, food vendors have not been allowed as yet. The National Street Vendors Association of India (NASVI) has written to the NDMC to allow street vendors, who were among those surveyed in 2007, to hawk their wares at Central Vista Avenue.

Arbind Singh, national coordinator, NASVI, said, “There are several street vendors who have not been given the permission even after a month. These people were among the vendors surveyed in 2007 and have been working in this area for decades. We have written to NDMC and even to the MOHUA to look into the matter.”

Gulab Singh, who has been selling ice candies at India Gate for nearly two decades, said, “There are 62 vendors who have not been given the licence to vend until now. The NDMC has allowed company-owned ice-cream trolleys, but what about us?”

NDMC vice-chairman Satish Upadhyay said, “There is no plan to increase the number of general vendors at this time.”

Upadhyay said the NDMC is finalising the request for proposal to hire a private operator to manage the parking sites. “For the time being, NDMC officials will continue to manage the parking sites. In the coming weeks, we will operationalise all six parking lots,” he said.

NDMC has also launched a drive to prevent illegal hawking, defacement and encroachments on the avenue with fines ranging from 50 to 2,000. “So far, the health department has issued more than 590 fines for littering,” an official from the health department said.

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