Authorities to brainstorm on Chandni Chowk decongestion

Lack of coordination among authorities, including the Delhi Police and rampant flouting of present traffic restrictions imposed at Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, until PWD finishes the redevelopment work taken up at the region, are subjecting commuters to a harrowing time, who have to take the presently one-way Chandni Chowk road on weekdays.

The situation turns worse on Mondays, when all major markets in the city – including the Lajpat Nagar Central Market, Sarojini Nagar Market and Karol Bagh Market among others – are closed and footfall in the Chandni Chowk retail market (facing the Chandni Chowk Road) reaches maximum, said Sumitra Stogi, a garment-trader in the retail market.

Later in this week, a high-level meeting between senior officials of Delhi Traffic Police, Public Works Department (PWD), the concerned municipal corporation, local police, the legislator from the constituency and other interest groups is scheduled to take place for discussing this issue, informed a source.

“To control the menace for the time being, we are going to make some changes to the existing diversion plan at Chandni Chowk and make sure that traffic on the other roads, which intersect the Chandni Chowk Road, is in coordination with the existing plan,” said Muktesh Chander, Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic).

However, it is not a traffic regulation issue alone. Severe problems that affect traffic in the area include the unregulated plying of rickshaws and severe encroachment, which has also proved to be a major obstacle for public works being undertaken in the area, said the source.

“The PWD redevelopment work is scheduled to be completed before the arrival of monsoon. There has been a lack of coordination among PWD, MCD, Delhi Traffic Police and local police, which has to be taken care of immediately,” said Alka Lamba, legislator from Chandni Chowk.

Drivers of two-wheelers and four-wheelers are often seen flouting the one-way regulation. “This is largely because the road has several major intersections, including the ones near Gurudwara Sis Ganj, Town Hall and the Krishna Gali- Balli Maran crossing. Most of the errant drivers approach from one of the intersections; ride through the restricted direction on Chandni Chowk Road and again divert from another intersection, choking the area,” said the official. He further said, “When they get caught, they are prosecuted. However, this hasn’t been significant so far as a deterrent force.”

To man the entire 2 km long Red Fort – Fatehpuri Masjid stretch, with around five major intersections, it would need more than 50 traffic police personnel to be deployed round-the-clock, which is not possible. People should be more responsible and follow traffic guidelines, a senior traffic official added. 
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