Sun, Apr 23, 2017 | updated 05:24 PM IST

Coming Soon.. A Car(e)-Free Connaught Place

Updated: Jan 11, 2017 12:05 IST      
Coming Soon.. A Car(e)-Free Connaught Place

New Delhi [India], Jan.11 (ANI): Come February, and Connaught Place, the heart of New Delhi, and the king of all meeting points will breathe a new life (well, at least for three months). As the spot will free itself from the shackles of fuel-run vehicular traffic; the only traffic that will now build up on the streets will be of happy travellers, sightseers and shoppers.

When a few years ago, the city of New York made a similar announcement, the initial reactions and apprehensions were the same. 'Where will all the vehicles go?', 'Will the diversions not lead to chaos?' 'How will the shops manage the expected loss in business?', and the list went on. However, when 'The Times Square' did become pedestrian friendly, all anxiety was overpowered by the convenience and comfort of the visitors, and soon everything was business as usual, and the 'business' only increased.

Though the traders in the Connaught Place of Delhi are going through a similar phase, but the public in general, along with civil society members and other environmentalists seem to be celebrating the move by the Ministry of Urban Development, already.

As Mr Sohinder Gill, Director - Corporate Affairs, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV) says, "Pedestrianization of CP's inner circle could become the first successful model towards creation of a pollution free environment in a big city. Ministry of Urban Development's (MoUD) move of allowing only cycles and electric vehicles would not only help people in adopting usage of clean public transportation, but also help this area transform into a green zone, where people can relax and enjoy."

Explaining the current agony, Mr Gill added, "During peak hours, the area witnesses high pollution levels (around 220ppm) so this move would mean a significant reduction in pollution levels. Moreover, the absence of cars and bikes would mean an increase in safety for the pedestrians who occupy the area during peak hours. We as an EV industry body would want to ensure that this drive is successful and carried out and later can be translated to a pan India. We will put our best hand forward to support the government with all our resources and will. We are keen to seek a tie-up with MoUD as well as NDMC to turn this policy initiative into a sustainable reality."

A passionate Delhiite, documentary filmmaker and Founder, Delhipedia, Arjun Pandey was also in complete support of the move and opined that cities are for people, not cars, while commending Delhi's public transport. He added, "Pedestrianisation is a strong yet a much needed move taken up by the Government of India. I really appreciate that Connaught Place, being the commercial centre of Delhi, has been chosen for the pilot project. Devoid of noise and air pollution and with the introduction of exciting initiatives like the sound and light shows, sidewalk cafes and street festivals, the popular spot will get a positive push. We must welcome this step taken towards moulding the capital into a sustainable and smarter one. I earnestly wish the project works out well so that Delhi sets an example for all other cities to take this scheme up and contribute in building a better, smarter and above all, a healthier India."

Not just the corporate and Delhi lovers but even environment-friendly and sustainability-loving companies like Attero are endorsing the move. Mr Rohan Gupta, COO, Attero, said, "We welcome the ministry's move to pedestrianise the busy lanes of Connaught Place. Located at the heart of the city, the spot currently attracts not just a huge crowd and but traffic, too. We are certain that the results of such a positive initiative will only lead to positive results like better public safety and an increase in comfort for the shoppers and travellers alike. This will make the city, a true capital, which leads by example. Going forward, we look forward to more such initiatives for a sustainable future, including safe disposal of electronic waste with an ecologically friendly e-waste management system."

Highlighting the connectivity that CP offers, Yatish Rajawat, Chief Strategy Officer at Localcircles.com, the largest citizen engagement platform in India said, "We all tend to cross Connaught Place mostly, even if we are going towards other parts of the city. Hence, pedestrianisation is a certainly a good initiative, as it would reduce congestion in the heart of the city-Connaught Place. Also, CP, unlike other markets, is quite a walkable market. By creating a zone where cars won't ply the government of India would actually be creating a zone where people could walk easily and enjoy CP as it is."

Having said this, the implementation of this move will definitely be a challenge unless planned in the right manner. At this point, parking does not seem to be a hurdle, as the 'Circle' already offers three good options - Shivaji Stadium, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Palika, which are currently underutilised. To add convenience, in fact, the government has also planned a free shuttle service. Besides, cycle and EV rental options are also anticipated to emerge during implementation. Let's hope the sea of head and tail lights in the area will soon be replaced by the bright smiles of the visitors, from February.

Aimed at creating a sustainable environment and ushering the metamorphosis of Delhi into a truly smart city, the move seems to be winning hearts. If successful, maybe next up should be Chandni Chowk. What Say? (ANI)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Popular Indian television actor Parth Samthaan, who became a household name with the success of the show 'Kaisi Yeh Yaariyan', was on Sunday booked under Sections 8 and 12 of the POCSO Act in Bangur Nagar.

Full Story >>

Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Apr 23 (ANI): At least two persons were killed in a fire explosion at a Maruti Suzuki showroom in Sector 10 of Maharashtra's Navi Mumbai on Sunday.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India]. April 23 (ANI): Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Sunday said service charge cannot be imposed mandatorily, adding that levying such charge is illegal under the latest guidelines issued by the government.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): As polling for the municipal elections picked up on Sunday afternoon, with about 30 per cent turnout recorded as of 2 p.m., Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal raised concerns about the reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], April 23 (ANI): A 31.13 percent voter turnout was recorded till 2.p.m. for the Delhi MCD polls.

Full Story >>

Baripada (Odisha) [India] Apr 23 (ANI): A major fire broke out at a firecracker factory in Odisha's Baripada town.

Full Story >>

Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) [India] Apr 23 (ANI): Condemning West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh's warning that those who will oppose the chants of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Jai Sri Ram' will relegate to history, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Sunday said by differentiating between Hindus and Muslims, India cannot be made harmonious.

Full Story >>

Uttar Pradesh [India], Apr. 23 (ANI): After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's order on removal of blue and red beacon from the VIP cars, 12 officers of Provincial Civil Services (PCS) on Sunday wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath requesting that they be allowed to use blue beacon citing law and order issues.

Full Story >>

Minakhan (West Bengal) [India], Apr 23 (ANI): West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh has stoked yet another controversy by saying that anyone opposing the chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Jai Sri Ram" in the country will become history.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): The Delhi Police on Sunday arrested three persons against a complaint which was lodged by an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer after he was thrashed by them over a minor scuffle.

Full Story >>

By Pradeep Kumar

Full Story >>

Chennai [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the issue regarding the ongoing agitation of Tamil Nadu farmers seeking loan waiver concerns the state, adding the matter should, therefore, be taken up by the state government.

Full Story >>

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Apr 23 (ANI): After the significant move to end VIP culture, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Sunday asserted that the new government is reviewing the project and the people have welcomed this decision too.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a letter of intent for purchase of 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) at an estimated cost of Rs. 3,173.47 crore during 2017-18 and 2018-19 from the BEL and ECIL.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Assuring win for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls, Congress turncoat Arvind Singh Lovely on Sunday said that he joined the saffron bandwagon because of its sincere and dedicated intentions to serve the people.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) ousted leader T.T.V. Dinakaran has reached the Crime Branch office of Delhi Police where he will be questioned in a case involving bribing of an Election Commission official to get the party's 'two-leaves' symbol.

Full Story >>

Chennai [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Downplaying Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president and treasurer M.K. Stalin's claim that the Centre is imposing Hindi on the non-Hindi residents of the country, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said there is no question of forcing Hindi on anybody, adding this matter is being unnecessary politicized for ulterior gains.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Three men were allegedly assaulted by animal rights activists linked to Union Minister Maneka Gandhi's NGO People for Animals (PFA) in Kalkaji area of South Delhi last night for transporting buffaloes in a truck.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Asserting that Delhi has witnessed the worst during the BJP's tenure in the MCD, former chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Sunday expressed optimism that the people would vote for the Congress in the civic polls this time.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Apr 23 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the consensus on Goods and Services Tax (GST) will go down in history as a great illustration of cooperative federalism, adding the landmark legislation reflects spirit of "one nation, one aspiration, one determination".

Full Story >>