Don't keep Karol Bagh vehicle-free: Traders

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Don't keep Karol Bagh vehicle-free: Traders

The 4-km Ajmal Khan Road was freed from encroachments, haphazard parking before being pedestrianised by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation on May 1. But traders told India Today that they have lost 80% of their business in the last two months as no four-wheelers are allowed on this road.

Almost two months after Ajmal Khan Road was pedestrianised, traders of Karol Bagh staged a protest on Tuesday against the North Delhi Municipal Corporation's decision of turning the market into a vehicle-free and parkingfree zone.

The 4-km Ajmal Khan Road was freed from encroachments, haphazard parking before being pedestrianised by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation on May 1. But traders told India Today that they have lost 80% of their business in the last two months as no four-wheelers are allowed on this road.

The traders put up posters and shouted slogans against the administration and demanded that entry of cars and parking be allowed.

They have also decided to write to PM Narendra Modi in this regard. Trader and protester Varun Raj said they want Ajmal Khan Road to be motorised. Another protester, Vinod Mehra, alleged that traders were not informed and discussed about the policy.

"The ban on the entry of cars was imposed overnight. Negotiations were not done with the traders before imposing it. As a result, 70 to 80% of work is being reduced daily. Delhi's weather remains around 40 degrees for six months and walking in this summer is a difficult task," he said.

Rajesh Mehra, president, Ajmal Khan Retail Market Association, claimed that many shops were closed after the vehicle ban policy. "This conspiracy has been created to jumble the market. A wedding does not happen without buying clothes or other material from Ajmal Khan Road. Many shops have been closed after banning the car entry," he said.

Not only the sales are affected, traders are also cutting on the number of labourers working in their stores. Yograj Behl (84) told India Today TV that after the civic body imposed 'No vehicle, no parking' policy, sales are down by almost 80% and he had to relieve labourers.

India Today TV spoke to North Delhi MC commissioner Varsha Joshi. "There are dozens of trader associations in Karol Bagh. They are all with us. Only three people protested today and I will speak to them and address their concern soon," she said.