Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna has suggested that Connaught Place be turned into a “pedestrian-only zone” except during “extreme summer days”. The proposal to relax this rule during peak summer is to overcome resistance to the move by the traders there.
Of the view that all market areas should be pedestrian-only zones, Khanna has asked the NDMC and MCD to initiate action on the proposal.
The governing body of the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre discussed this at a meeting on December 19. “Hon’ble L-G suggested all market areas in Delhi should be developed as pedestrian zones only. On the same issue, NDMC stated that traders associations have rejected the proposal for pedestrianisation on account of the extreme summer conditions of Delhi. L-G suggested that except for the extreme summer days, all other days, CP should remain a pedestrian-only zone,’’ state minutes of the meeting.
The plan to turn Connaught Place into a pedestrian-only zone has been in the works for a while. It was part of the redevelopment plan, which is still being implemented. This plan includes facade improvement work, construction of new subways and a service utility corridor in the middle circle.
“The pedestrianisation plan had been suggested earlier but we opposed it. No further discussion has taken place since then. The weather in Delhi is not conducive for such a plan. No one will be willing to walk during peak summer or in the monsoons. This idea is workable in countries where the weather is pleasant almost throughout the year,’’ Atul Bhargava, president of the New Delhi Traders Association, said.
But the Lt Governor’s suggestion has made the NDMC move. “We are looking at implementing these orders and are carrying out a study for the same,’’ NDMC spokesperson Amit Prasad said.
A pedestrian-only plan for Lajpat Nagar market was also discussed at the meeting. Traders of this market too are opposed to the plan. For the plan, the traffic police have suggested that shopkeepers and others who want to park vehicles on long-term basis should park them at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
“We had held a meeting with traders of Lajpat Nagar almost a year ago. They shot down the proposal of parking at JLN stadium saying it was not a viable plan. We have come up with a traffic circulation plan and have identified designated parking spaces in the market,’’ a senior traffic police officer said.
Ranjan Mukherjee, officer on special duty to the Lt Governor, said: “We have been trying to pedestrianise markets in Delhi for years. In 2007, we tried to carry out a trial run in Ajmal Khan Market. This is a norm in most countries.’’