Private firm to secure East Delhi vehicle-free road, in exchange for managing parking sites

The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has found a novel way to ensure the security of its pedestrianised roads without having to worry about paying for it or make sure that vehicles keep to the no-entry rule. The corporation has decided to handover security of the roads to a private company, which in turn will be allowed to run the parking facilities and earn their fee from it. The civic body believes that this way, it would be in the firm’s interest to keep vehicles off the road and utilise the parking facilities.

The three municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs), have several projects to pedestrianise certain stretches and also beautify them. One of EDMC’s stretches is at Lal Quarter Market in Krishna Nagar.The civic body has tendered out the security of a 1.25 km-long stretch from Chhachi Building to Ghondly Chowk in the market to a private company last week, said EDMC officials. This road has been selected to be turned into a pedestrian-only market which will be closed for vehicular traffic, they said.

The company will install CCTV cameras with 30 days’ memory at all the entry and exit points of the road, provide security guards, barricades, bollards and signages, as per the agreement. The guards will prevent vehicles from entering the walkers-only road and illegal hawkers and vendors from squatting on it.

Importantly, they will ensure that municipal property on the stretch like flowerpots, garden lamps and benches are not damaged by hooligans/vandals or even stray cattle, EDMC officials said. “In return, the company will manage eight surface parking sites in the area on roads like Satnam Marg and sides of the Central Park, and earn money from it. They can put up advertisements on the barricades as well,” Aman Rajput, Assistant commissioner of EDMC and nodal officer of the project, said.

Under directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the three municipal corporations of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) have been trying to turn few popular markets in their areas to “pedestrian only” to decongest them and enhance shoppers’ experience.
While the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has taken up similar projects in Karol Bagh and Kamla Nagar markets, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is doing this in Lajpat Nagar and Greater Kailash market. However, neither of these two corporations have outsourced security or management of the pedestrianised stretches so far and are currently doing it in-house with staff members available with them or with the help of traders’ associations.

Sandeep Kapoor, Standing Committee Chairperson, EDMC, said “We realised that with our minimum staff members, we cannot ensure 24×7 security of the pedestrianised stretches of the market. That is when we thought, why not tender out the surface parking sites and handover security of the area to the contractor himself?” “Since, the company will be earning from the surface parking sites, they will themselves ensure that no illegal vehicle parking happens anywhere in the area, otherwise it would impact their own profits,” Kapoor explained. The demarcated eight surface parking sites in Krishna Nagar have about 250 ECS (Equivalent Car Spaces). Plus, there is the multi-level car parking facility in the vicinity as well.