The Delhi Police has asked restaurants and shops in the Connaught Place area to close down early on Tuesday for International Yoga Day preparations. The traders and restaurateurs, however, were unhappy with the move saying their business was affected as people visit the area more in the evening hours. "Connaught Place remained out of bounds for visitors from 8 pm today as we had asked all shops and restaurants to shut down by then," said a senior police officer. He added that only those who reside in the area will be allowed entry tonight. A restaurateur, who was not willing to be named, said many of the restaurants closed by 5 pm since they were asked to do so by the police. "People mostly visit restaurants post 8 pm. On a day when the weather is pleasant, we have been asked to close our venues early. This has affected our business," he said. Atul Bhargav, the president of New Delhi Traders' Association (NDTA) echoed similar views and said that many shopkeepers and restaurateurs shut their businesses at 5 pm. He said the Delhi Police had earlier asked them to shut down their shops from 5 pm on June 19 and open after the International Yoga Day celebrations on June 21. However, they raised objection to the move and it was agreed that they would have to shut their shops by 8 PM on June 20 i. E.
Today. "They should hold events like these at the India Gate. There were no customers today and our business saw a decline of 30 to 35 per cent," rued Bhargav. The New Delhi Municipal Council, which is organising the event tomorrow, however, said it has not issued any such directive. "We have not issued any directives to close down the restaurants early. Since the parking is closed, some restaurants may have decided to shutter early on their own but no such communication from the NDMC has been made," a senior official from the civic body said. Vehicular traffic and parking areas in Connaught Place's inner circle were closed from the night of June 19 till tomorrow morning in the wake of preparations for the International Yoga Day. As many as 10,000 people will join Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the common Yoga performance in the national capital tomorrow.