Karol Bagh’s only pedestrianised road, Ajmal Khan Road, served as the canvas for over 750 students of various schools and colleges of New Delhi. The event was organised by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). The students beautified the road, promoting open public spaces in cities, a feeling of community togetherness and spreading important awareness messages on climate change, plastic waste, and more through their artwork
NEW DELHI: Karol Bagh’s famous Ajmal Khan Road, which hosts one of the biggest markets in the city of Delhi became the canvas of approximately 750 school and college students from eight institutions at 6 am in the morning of October 21. The event, which was organised by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Public Welfare Department (PWD), saw the road being closed while students were allowed to redecorate the street with beautifully patterned artwork. A walking lane was reserved for the students on the 1.3 km stretch and each mural had an individual theme to it. “We wanted to create awareness regarding a ‘pedestrian street environment’ vis-a-vis a boring motorable road. The purpose is to form a visually compelling landscape similar to Lodhi Colony, Shankar Market or the Tughlakabad Container Depot where people stop to observe the beauty around them,” said Akriti Sagar, Deputy Commissioner, NDMC. Issues like LGBTQ rights, the environmental menace that is posed by the usage of plastic, campaigning against deforestation, drink and drive were some of the more recurring issues addressed by the kids of Delhi in their paintings. “The purpose of the paintings was to promote the community feeling. The aesthetics of the road has been significantly improved and it suits the festive mood. The kids did a fantastic job in revamping the only pedestrianised road in Delhi,” said MP Gupta, Superintendent Engineer, NDMC.
Municipal officials have stated that the idea was incepted by them and implemented by them in order to compliment the festive mood. The shopkeepers of the bustling market have expressed gratitude towards the school children. “The paintings have really uplifted the whole vibe of the road. We thank the students for that,” the shopkeepers in the area told us. Although the paint used for the drawings was durable, no measures will be undertaken for the upkeep of the murals, according to Gupta. These paintings will, however, be displayed permanently on the corporation’s website. Further beautification projects are being planned for some other areas as well, he mentioned.
The road stretch had been pedestrianised by the corporation on May 1. Although, the road has been touted as a success, it probably has caused inverse effects on the highly congested area of Karol Bagh. Since, no visible parking policy has been put in place in order to accommodate the plan of pedestrianising the road which sees heavy footfall on a daily basis, high congestion can be observed in the surrounding areas of Ajmal Khan road. When asked about the future of such plans for Karol Bagh, Gupta said that as of now, no plans are in place to pedestrianise other roads of the area.