Ban on motor vehicles in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk; pedestrians, cycle and e-rickshaws to be allowed
The final approval to a proposal to reserve the 1.5km stretch from Red Fort to Fatehpuri mosque for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles (NMVs) was approved by Delhi’s lieutenant governor (LG) Anil Baijal on Monday.Updated: Aug 28, 2018, 08:54 IST
Chandni Chowk is set to become the first locality in the national Capital where motorised vehicles will be banned — only pedestrians, cycle rickshaws and e-rickshaws will be allowed — between 9am and 9pm every day, according government officials familiar with the development.
The final approval to a proposal to reserve the 1.5km stretch from Red Fort to Fatehpuri mosque for pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles (NMVs) was approved by Delhi’s lieutenant governor (LG) Anil Baijal on Monday.
“Only non-motorised vehicles such as cycle rickshaws, e-rickshaws and hand carts will be allowed to ply in the dedicated corridor during this time, Manish Kumar Verma, director (planning) at the unified traffic and transportation infrastructure (planning & engineering) centre (UTTIPEC), said.
All infrastructure projects in the city have to be approved by UTTIPEC, which is headed by the LG.
The Delhi government’s public works department (PWD) has been asked to execute the plan. “The timeline to execute the project is already prepared, which also has approval of the PWD minister. It may take 6-12 months to put restrictions on motorised vehicles on the stretch for 12 hours,” said a senior PWD official who asked not to be named.
According to estimates by the Chandni Chowk traders’ association, 150,000 to 200,000 people, including tourists, visit the market every day. An average of 2,000 cycle rickshaw and equal number of e-rickshaws ply in the area. With cars, two-wheelers and auto-rickshaws also using the crowded road, locals say the stretch becomes hard to negotiate because of frequent traffic jams.
“The LG has given a go-ahead to the proposal, which calls for a 5.5-metre wide carriageway on both sides, with slight modification. Instead of two metres, the central verge will now be 3.5 metres wide. Power transformers and public facilities will be placed on the centre verge,” said the official quoted above.
In July 2017, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had proposed that Connaught Place, or Rajiv Chowk, be declared a pedestrian-only zone, but the project could not take off because of the opposition from several quarters, including traders.
Sanjay Bhargava, president of Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, expressed his displeasure over the approval given to the plan, saying the suggestions of key stakeholders was not taken into consideration.
“The width of footpaths has been reduced, while more space is being given to non-motorised vehicle lanes. It will create a mess. We demanded that there should be immediate ban on unlicensed rickshaws plying in the market and loading/unloading should also not be allowed during the day as per a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order,” Bhargava said.
Amit Bhatt, director (integrated urban transport) at World Resources Institute (WRI), however, lauded the decision. “The proposal was long due. Core areas in big cities around the world such as Istanbul and Paris are pedestrianised. If the authorities are able to implement it in right manner, it will revitalise the area. ” he said.
The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) – set up for conservation and redevelopment of the Walled City — welcomed the decision. “The urban development minister, who is also the chairman of SRDC, has given administrative approval to the DPR for redevelopment of Chandni Chowk Project so it is now expected that PWD shall adhered to timelines already decided in the meeting held on May 22 under his chairmanship. The successful implementation of this project may give impetus for heritage conservation, social development , local economic rejuvenation , pedestrianisation, etc. in the area,” said Nitin Panigrahi, deputy general manager (project and administration), SRDC.