While reviewing the implementation of smart city plans in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area, union urban development minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, on November 2, 2016, asked the NDMC to convert Connaught Place and Khan Market into ‘no vehicle zones’, through necessary planning for traffic management, parking and last mile connectivity. The minister made the suggestion, while expressing concern over the air pollution and traffic congestion in the national capital, an official said.
Among other suggestions, Naidu also mooted setting up of digital display screens at all major locations, to provide information on traffic flows including jams, suggested traffic diversions, weather, pollution and other public information. Highlighting poor maintenance of the road from the airport to Connaught Place, Naidu directed the local bodies to undertake necessary interventions, to make this section a ‘smart road’ with all necessary features, like pathways and landscaping.
Naidu also urged the NDMC to ensure implementation of the whole smart city plan, entailing an investment of Rs 1,900 crores, by June 2018 with ‘visible impact’ of the development by middle of 2017. NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar informed that so far, smart city projects worth Rs 650 crores were being implemented and work on the remaining, would start in the next few months.
He said that around 25 projects would be completed by June 2017, which include conversion of all 444 classrooms in the NDMC areas into smart ones, digital information panels/kiosks at prominent places with high speed internet, provision of 60 water ATMs at public places, 59 open gyms and a ‘Charkha Museum’ at Connaught Place.