Delhi: A scared city?

Marching orders to hawkers on Rajpath

Reasons For Decision

Security Concerns Besides Obstruction To The View Of India Gate


New Delhi: Ice-cream stalls, balloon-sellers, relaxed families and friends chilling out on lush green lawns — that was Rajpath till only a few days back. But the most scenic part of the capital is now devoid of its colour and hustle-bustle with Delhi police commissioner Y S Dadwal recently directing that no hawking activity be allowed along the stretch. The decision is aimed at preventing any obstruction to the view of India Gate besides security concerns.

Said Delhi Police PRO Rajan Bhagat: ‘‘The commissioner had given orders to keep Rajpath free of hawkers. But the three crossroads — Man Singh Road, Rafi Marg and Janpath — are open to them.’’ The cops, however, pointed that with NDMC carrying out some construction work at Rafi Marg, there might be restrictions on movement of hawkers along the stretch. The police said they will assist NDMC in removing hawkers from the Rajpath area.

Meanwhile, NDMC said it would comply with the police orders. Said NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari: ‘‘No specific space was assigned by NDMC to these hawkers. Now, if the police feels the hawkers should be removed from the area due to security reasons we will comply with the orders. As far as identifying vending sites are concerned, we are still in the process of doing that and a committee has been formed to look into this matter.’’

The traffic police has been instructed to clear all unauthorized parking at Rajpath with the intention of providing a clear path for tourists at India Gate. ‘‘We have started prosecuting vehicles parked on Rajpath as they obstruct the path of pedestrians walking towards India Gate. An alternative parking lot has been provided behind the water channels, which is located within walking distance,’’ said a senior traffic police official.
Said Tiwari: ‘‘We are yet to get an official intimation from the police over where parking would be allowed in the area.’’
‘‘It was felt that with the Hockey World Cup being hosted near India Gate, a lot of tourists are expected to visit the monument. For this, the need to clear up Rajpath was felt for traffic and security reasons,’’ said a traffic official. .

Said Nina Singh, a DU student: ‘‘I have so many childhood memories of going for picnics with my family to Rajpath. And even today most of us head there for an icecream. The place will not have the same charm anymore with ice-cream vans removed from the area.’’

NOT FAR AWAY: Hawkers will still be allowed on Man Singh Road, Rafi Marg and Janpath intersections

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