Wanna get our awesome news?

Subscribe to our newsletter!


Actually we won’t spam you and keep your personal data secure

As the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, we represent the interests of 500000+ restaurants & an industry valued @ USD 4 billion. Whether a chain or independent restaurant, the NRAI is here to help every step of the way. Join us!




Connaught Place has undergone a major makeover in the past few years, emerging as a nightlife and food hub. Its restaurants, pubs and clubs, whose numbers are still growing, draw large crowds, but now the “alarming” growth of the restaurant business in the area has shopkeepers in CP up in arms. They have complained that the “old infrastructure cannot bear the burden of the increasing number of restaurants.” After receiving multiple complaints related to sewage and drainage on the ground floor shops from CP shopkeepers, New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) president Atul Bhargava recently approached the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), and wrote a letter to the chairperson about his concerns.

The development has come as a surprise to restaurateurs- they argue that restaurants in CP have not only added to the footfall in the area, they are also helping give it a facelift. The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) president is now considering speaking to the NDTA. Meanwhile, the NDMC says it will now conduct a detailed CP survey.


The problems that traders with ground floor shops are facing were brought to the NDTAs notice around eight months ago. Atul Bhargava, president, NDTA, says, “We received complaints that the drainage on the ground floor gets cho-ked because of waste from restaurants on the first floor, and the foul smell is unbearable not just for shopkeepers, but also puts customers off. CP is one of the oldest areas in Delhi and the infrastructure is crumbling, but the number of establishments is still growing. I think there are around 250 restaurants in CP at present and more are lined up. N block is the worst with about 13 of them. The facade of CP has changed – all one can see are restaurants. We have been having meetings with the NDMC to get a feasibility report on CP -how many restaurants’ burden the infrastructure can take. They are reviewing our complaints. When CP was built, it was de-signed to have retail on the ground floor and residences on the first and second floors. But the first and second floors were later occupied by commercial offices. This space has now been taken up entirely by restaurants, with 100-200 people visiting them each day. The old drainage and sewerage system was not designed with this in mind.”

It is not about restaurants, but about every building in the area. NDTA suggested putting a cap on the number of restaurants, but I don’t think we can put a cap… as a solution

Rajeev Sood, chief architect, NDMC

The first and second floors… have now been taken up by restaurants, with 100-200 people visiting them each day. The old drainage system was not designed with this in mind
-Atul Bhargava, NDTA

You have to consider how much traffic and vibrancy restaurants have brought to the place… If there is a problem, the traders’ association should approach the restaurant association — why not open a dialogue?
– Riyaaz Amlani, NRAI

NDTA president Atul Bhargava adds that apart from drainage issues, parking and security are also concerns. “It has become difficult even for the police to manage the crowd in CP, with so many people visiting the area on the weekends. Footfall is welcome and we have nothing against business, but security concerns can’t be ignored, with people visiting CP till late into the night. We are planning to develop CP as a cultural hub, but there are no CCTVs installed in the area, though we have been petitioning the authorities for a long time. Also, the success of these restaurants has added to the problem of vagrants in CP – their number has gone up and the police can’t do anything about them unless they are involved in a serious crime. Parking has become a mess. On the weekends, it is a nightmare,” says Bhargava.

A shop owner in C block, who says he’s been there for 64 years, says development that attracts a younger crowd is great, but the growth in the number of restaurants is too much. “CP was a family joint and restaurants were an important part of that, but even those old restaurants in CP had a certain character that went with its image. But now, CP is just another place in Delhi- it is losing its distinct character, the charm and beauty it once had,” says Satish Sundra, a shopkeeper. Sanjeev Malhoira, the owner of Embassy, one of the older restaurants in CP, says, “I think development without proper planning by the authorities has been leading to all these problems on the ground floor. One solution can be to move all the banks to the higher floors and retail, even restaurants, to the ground floor. Internationally, that is how streets are planned. We only need to have an ATM on the ground floor, and the rest of the bank can move to the first floor.”

Restaurateurs say they’d be more than happy to address traders’ issues, “if there are any”, but putting a cap on restaurants will not solve these problems. Says Riyaaz Amlani, president, NRAI, who also has a restaurant in CP, “I think this is a myopic approach – to cap the number of restaurants because infrastructure is a problem. CP today is one of the best, most organized markets in Delhi. Are traders facing a problem? Perhaps they are, but you have to consider how much traffic and vibrancy restaurants have brought to the place. All good mall operators keep eateries right at the top of the mall so that people take a walk, shop and eatthey need to understand the value of restau-rants. If the infrastructure cannot cooperate, is it fair to ask for the number to be limited, or (should we) say, let’s revamp the infrastructure? Each restaurant per square foot is the most intensive employment generator. Retail space might employ five people – a restaurant employs 20. You have to look at the contribution to the economy through taxes that are generated, the house tax that NDMC is earning from restaurants… the macro perspective. If there is a problem that they are facing, the traders’ association should approach the restaurant association – why not open a dialogue with us? If someone has taken a place and is halfway through construction, what he will do -lose money? If they are facing sewage or garbage issues, there are thousands of ways of treating garbage. If you take the restaurants out of CP, all these guys who are complaining will miss restaurants sorely. I will talk to them and try and understand what their issues and concerns are”

Restaurateur Priyank Sukhija adds, “This is a very anti-development ap-proach. Will they stop opening shops because shops attract large crowds? The traders’ association only constitutes traders who are on the ground floor -restaurants can’t afford the rent on the ground An AI. ,41AX floor. If you plan it the way they do internation-ally, CP can be one of the best places. How can we refuse somebody the right to business when she/he has possession of commercial property? We should work together to improve infrastructure, resolve parking and sewage issues. They say that restau-rants attract crowds and there are security issues -does the NDTA ensure that anybody who comes to their shops is not going to be a security hassle? Two years ago, CP used to be dead, it wasn’t even open on Sunday, and now Sunday is one of the best days in CP. There are many positives to that; even traders are getting more business, it is a cul-tural hub.” The owner of one restaurant in CP, Dinesh Arora has three more coming up there, and says, “Such problems were never even brought to our notice. As people who all have businesses in the area, we should discuss these mutually”

Rajeev Sood, chief architect, NDMC, tells DT, “We had a meeting with representatives of the NDTA. We need some time to study the drawings of each building in CP, the sanctioned conversion plans from residential to commercial properties, so we don’t have a solution immediately. It is not about restaurants but about every building in the area. They suggested putting a cap on the number of restaurants, but I don’t think we can put a cap on the number of restaurants as a solution. There are buildings on the ground floor also that flout rules. We have to do a detailed study and then come up with solutions.” —

Source : Times of India(Delhi Times)  

Recommended for you