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For 3 months starting February, Delhi’s Connaught Place to go vehicle-free

The middle and inner circular roads of Connaught Place in the heart of the national capital will be vehicle-free.
India TV News Desk New Delhi January 05, 2017 21:36 IST
India TV News Desk

On a pilot basis for three months from February, the middle and inner circular roads of Connaught Place in the heart of the national capital will be vehicle-free, a move aimed at decongesting the area. 

The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting was chaired by Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and attended by officials from the Urban Development Ministry, NDMC and Delhi Police. 

"It was decided that pedestrianisation of Connaught Place on a pilot basis would be implemented for three months from February this year for ground level testing of issues related to changes in traffic circulation, experience of pedestrians and shop owners, management of reclaimed parking lots, traffic load on outer circle etc," an official release said. 

The officials stated that 'pedestrianisation' could be promoted by declaring the middle and inner circular roads of CP vehicle free by providing effective 'park and ride' services from major parking areas at Shivaji Stadium, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Palika parking. 

Total parking capacity at these three locations is 3,172 and on an average only 1,088 vehicles are being parked, they said, adding that the unutilised capacity could be fully used by promoting 'park and ride' concept. 

Besides cycle hiring, the battery-operated vehicles would be deployed to take people to the business district. 

The move has not gone down well with the traders here who believe the move will not only cause discomfort to visitors but also 
affect the business. 

"This is a very absurd idea. CP is a commenrcial centre, not a tourist destination. The moment inner circle will be made vehicle-free, the outer circle will be choked. We have already seen a demo on the Yoga day," said Atul Bhargava, president, New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA). 

Opposing the move, Bhargava said, "There is already 20-ft walking space in all the blocks for pedestrians and there is already shortage of parking space. How many visitors will prefer parking their vehicles at Shivaji stadium or Shankar market and take a shared ride to CP to shop or eat? The business will obviously suffer.”

Naidu also reviewed the progress of implementation of smart city plan of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), whose chairman Naresh Kumar said the results on ground could be seen in the next four to five months. 

Other issues discussed in the meeting included landscaping, development of water bodies to act as humidifier in the walking zone, light and sound shows, side walk cafes, public plazas and organising street festivals. 

Naidu emphasised that congestion-free, accident-free and crime-free experience of visitors shall be the objective of 'pedestrianisation'. 

Kumar informed the meeting that work on strengthening of smart energy grid network would begin next month, while work on automatic metering and Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) in March this year. 

According to a release, three of the 11 decentralised sewage treatment plans would be completed by the end of this month while the remaining by June. 

Erection of smart poles with CCTV cameras to be connected to central command and control centres would be completed by July, it said, adding an MoU is also being finalised with MTNL for introducing Wi-Fi services in NDMC area. 

Administrative approval for rehabilitation of water supply networks under smart water management, smart automatic meters and water quality sensors is likely to be accorded at the Council's meeting next week, it added. 

(With PTI inputs)