Delhi’s upscale Connaught Place business hub remained closed in the first-half of Tuesday in protest against a new traffic and parking plan for the heritage marketplace.
According to the New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA), business owners and shopkeepers decided to shut their shops between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The protest comes in the wake of the central government’s January 5 decision of making inner and outer circles of the Connaught Place in central Delhi traffic-free for three months from February 20.
The decision to make Connaught Place traffic-free was taken at a review meeting held by Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, where plans to turn the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area into a smart city were discussed.
The shop owners defied the ban in unison while the market President contended that the order is “ill-conceived” and will destroy the market completely.
“We outrightly reject the order. There’s no pollution in CP, the pollution is in places like Anand Vihar, Pitampura. There won’t be any consumer traffic too the moment you ban motor vehicles here,” NDTA President Atul Bhargava told IANS.
“Parking is a necessity. You cannot not allow the customers to come here in their cars, who too are dismayed at the proposal. How woman will come to the market in an e-rickshaw after parking her car at a place away from the market… This is not regulation but strangulation,” Bhargav said.
He suggested that if NDMC has to take any measure at all against congestion, then take Ola and Uber taxis and autos off the roads, since it is these which are parked on the road and contribute to congestion.
“Shopkeepers have spent over 80 years in preserving CP, we won’t let it be destroyed,” he added.