The traders of Connaught Place (CP) are criticizing the move of making Connaught Place car-free for few months for a pilot smart city project that will launch next month, saying while demonetisation took a toll on their business, this will ruin them certainly. Starting from February, cars and buses will not be allowed into Connaught Place area for three months.
The ban will be imposed for a pilot Smart City project that will be launched next month. The project aims at reducing pollution and congestion in the heart of the city CP. However, traders working in the area for years aren’t happy with the decision as it may affect their business badly.
Satish Sundra has been working in Ram Chander & Sons, one of India’s oldest Toy Stores in one corner of CP for almost 80 years now. The shop was started by his father in 1935; two years after CP came into being. As per a report in India Today, Satish said, “Connaught Place is a business hub. It is not a tourist spot. A move like this will ruin and kill Connaught Place. We have already suffered over the past 2 months with demonetisation, and now this will just make matters worse. People need us to carry things till their car, but now they will just choose to visit a mall then come here using public transport.”
His son, Amit Sundra mocked at the thought of CP being linked to a smart city. The key 3 points the UD Ministry has stated is ‘Congestion free, Pollution free and Crime free’. Amit said, “They talk about a smart city pilot project but look around you, there are no maps to find your way through CP. People have littered everywhere and scrawled rubbish all over the walls. There is an entire drug mafia operating in Connaught Place. The circle is not even friendly for the disabled and if you talk about the traffic, we are going to choke when all the traffic gets diverted to the outer circle.”
Another vendor Sharad who sells paan and has been doing this for the past 20 years said, “The Notebandi brought my business down by 40 per cent and I’m sure this move will bring it down to 60 – 70 per cent. Who will want to leave the comfort of their AC cars and travel on foot? Moreover, can the three allocated parking lots actually accommodate all the cars that come to CP?”