New Delhi: Delhi Police on Monday denied permission to the Aam Aadmi Party to hold the ‘Car-Free Day’ event on Dussehra, October 22, saying the government did not hold prior consultation with the force before taking a decision in this regard.
The government had planned to implement the initiative on the stretch from the Red Fort to India Gate running through ITO – the arterial and busiest Netaji Subhash Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, and Tilak Marg.
In his letter to Chief Secretary K. K. Sharma, Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said the selection of date — October 22 — for such an event seemed to be hasty and quite impractical as people would be celebrating Dussehra on the day.
“Surprisingly, there was no prior consultation with Delhi Police before taking the decision for holding such an event or regarding the suitability of the date proposed. The choice of date, i.e 22.10.2015, for such an event seems to be hasty and quite impractical,” Bassi said in his letter.
“It is the day of Dussehra festival which people celebrate by going out in large numbers with their families. The proposed Car-Free stretch from Lal Qila to India Gate is home to some of Delhi’s most popular and traditional Ram Lilas.”
He also said that there would be immersion of Durga idols at the Yamuna ghats on the same date.
These occasions demand massive police arrangements all over the city for safety and security of citizens, and maintaining law and order. Besides, there would also be VVIP movements, the police commissioner pointed out.
Bassi said that Delhi Police being the primary agency responsible for regulation of traffic in the city are the first stakeholder in any such event which has a direct impact on the smooth flow of traffic, and needed to be consulted.
The police commissioner said that roads for such events have to be very carefully chosen, and that major arterial roads have to be avoided since their closure would shift the traffic load to other adjoining roads, choking the rest of Delhi.
Delhi Police have asked the AAP government to choose a suitable, alternative route for this event on some other non-working day on the stretch between Chhata railway station and Delhi Gate crossing, but sources said the government is not interested in the alternative route suggested by police.