Traders at Connaught Place are miffed with the Delhi government's decision to close some roads and parking zones for a four-day laser show to celebrate Diwali, and have threatened to boycott the event, saying the area is a commercial hub and not a cultural centre.
The city government will organise the laser show from October 26 to encourage people not to burst crackers on Diwali, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said on Monday.
The New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) said such plans are "essentially against the very character and design" of Connaught Place.
"We have come to know about the plan to close some of the roads in Connaught Place for traffic from 6pm onwards and also, use the parking lots for hosting food stalls for four days.
"Any such plan is essentially against the very character and design of Connaught Place since this has traditionally been a central business district and not a cultural centre," NDTA president Atul Bhargava said at a press conference.
Diwali is considered one of the most auspicious in the country and is known for its customary shopping as has been the norm for centuries, he said.
"We believe that besides adverse impact on business and livelihood of lakhs of people, the move will create traffic chaos, compromise on safety of shoppers and women as well as cause inconvenience to everyone visiting the area, especially senior citizens and specially-abled visitors," Bhargava said.
However, Kejriwal had said that "trade will be doubled because people will be visiting Connaught Place in large numbers".
The traders of the Central Delhi market have also opposed the trial run by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to pedestrianise Connaught Place.
"We are the stakeholders, no consultation has happened with us before taking a decision. They want to reduce our festival into a 'black Diwali'. We will not attend the programme," Bharagava said.
"We had also sent representations to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as well as the NDMC to reconsider the move but nothing has happened," he said.
Kejriwal had also said that restrictions have been imposed only on private cars because they can cause congestion on roads.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)