Plan to decongest Chandni Chowk

NEW DELHI NOV. 24. In an effort to reduce traffic congestion in the Walled City area, the Chandni Chowk Councillor, Braj Mohan Sharma, has urged the Delhi Government to have different weekly-offs for the various type of markets in this commercial buzz of the Capital.

Though Mr. Sharma is awaiting a positive reaction from the Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, the proposal has received a favourable response from the traders and market associations who agree with the Congress Councillor's view that such a step would drastically reduce the traffic congestion and overcrowding of the area. At present the entire areas is closed on Sunday.

Arguing that with the Chandni Chowk and adjoining areas -- which is the centre of a large number of commercial and wholesale activities -- presently being closed on Sunday, it becomes choked on weekdays causing great inconvenience to both the people who throng the area daily and traders, Mr. Sharma said: "I have proposed that different market centres have weekly-offs on different weekdays.''

Under the proposal, which is a part of the "Vision Chandni Chowk 2002-2003'' prepared by the Congress Councillor, commercial areas of this part of the Capital have been bifurcated into four groups. Electrical and electronic goods, watch and photo markets have been clubbed together into one group. "The Bhagirath Market -- which is one of the largest Asian electrical market -- Lajpat Rai Market which is famous for electronic goods and the photo market on the Esplanade Road should be closed on one day,'' he said.

All shops and business establishment in cloths and garment business have been clubbed into second group. Spread into large number of katras -- like Katra Neel, Katra Subhash, Katra Nawab -- Chandni Chowk is a wholesale market for cloths. Hundreds of small businessmen from in and around the Capital and also from North India visit this place daily. In the third group has been placed, the wholesale grain, food, grocery, dry fruits, spices markets and chemical markets which are mostly concentrated in Fatehpuri, Khari Baoli and Naya Bazaar area. "The rest of the markets and shopping complexes including the general retail market have been clubbed together in the fourth group which could have weekly off on a particular weekday,'' he said.

Mr. Sharma argued that with this the flow of traffic and the number of people visiting this place daily could reduced at least one-fifth. "This would not only reduce load on civic amenities including the parking problem, but also the visitors and traders. As of now, at times it is difficult to even walk in Chandni Chowk,'' he said.