For all those who think picnicking in front of India Gate is passé, the city’s traffic cops have a solution – picnic down the road which is ensconced on both sides by smooth lawns. There you will have views of the North and South Blocks as well as India Gate. Also, no need to worry about fast cars whizzing by, as the top traffic cop in the city has assured The Hindu that the only thing on wheels that can reach the average picnicker will be ice-cream.

No-traffic zone

“A part of Rajpath has already been made a no-traffic zone in the evenings and we want this place to be available to citizens to picnic or just sit around in the evenings. We also want some of the vendors to move their business here from India Gate and we have already started talking to them. We cannot order them but we have been trying to convince them to at least try selling ice-cream here sometimes,” said Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Taj Hassan, while pointing out the road map and explaining how vehicular movement was being controlled so as to allow only pedestrians or cyclists around the targeted area.

Lack of parking space, the main reason for an outing being cancelled, will not be an issue assured Mr. Hassan. “Behind the lawns you can see the North and South of Rajpath, we have made specific arrangements for the picnickers.”

Diversions

“About six places like this around the area have specific traffic diversions so anyone wanting to drive through this area, say from Lodhi Gardens towards Connaught Place or vice-versa, will have to be prepared for some longer turns after 7-30 p.m. on office days and after 4 p.m. on weekends, holidays or festival days,” he said, adding that the project which was already under way had met with success, and was operating smoothly with no severe strain on manpower.

“We need a total of 15 personnel to enforce this. Of these, generally we have two men at each diversion. So far we haven’t had any real trouble. This will become a regular feature with breaks in the routine when there is some VVIP traffic or a national holiday like Republic Day which has its own rules.”

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