Delhi's Pink Has Some Seeing Red
Seeking a "new look" in the heart of India's 22-million-person capital city, local officials have thrown off conventional black, white and yellow for traffic markings in favor of pink and green.
After dividers and curbs on a major thoroughfare known as Vinay Marg were repainted in pink and green "on a pilot basis, ... the new color scheme can now be seen in almost all areas of Lutyens' Delhi," reports The Indian Express.
Lutyens' Delhi is the upscale central area that is home to much of the central government, the Prime Minister's residence, the diplomatic area, the National Zoo, and other major historic and visitor attractions.
The change comes from the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC). The council's jurisdiction encompasses only a fraction of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), but that fraction is considered the most prestigious, prominent and important area of the capital.
NDMC Chief Engineer Anant Kumar called the new color scheme "kind of an aesthetic initiative."
"We came up with this idea of painting the curbs pink and green to give a new look and bring uniformity in the area," Kumar said. "Also, green symbolizes an eco-friendly approach."
The color scheme will be used throughout NDMC's jurisdiction, he added.
NDMC refers to the pink color as sandstone.
"The color of sandstone was chosen because it reflects the heritage of Delhi," the council said in a statement.
"Monuments such as the Red Fort and many structures in Lutyens' Delhi are made of sandstone. Green was chosen to depict the greenery in NDMC area."
|ictonline (left); YouTube (right)|
Critics of the pink-and-green makeover include KK Kapila, who heads the Infrastructure Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI); and Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament for Delhi.
Photos of the new color scheme were unavailable for publication.
'Not Meant for Decorating'
The new look has not pleased everyone. New Delhi's traffic police objected because the first round of pink and green coatings were not reflective and thus did not help road and marking visibility.
The council then ordered the installation of reflector strips, but those "started coming off after a few days," The Indian Express reported.
The council then scrapped the reflector strips and is now using reflective and thermoplastic coatings, said Kumar.
Urban planners and infrastructure experts were also aghast.
|Creative Commons / Deepak|
Lutyens Delhi is home to many of the capital's most prominent government buildings, including the Secretariat Buildings (North and South Block). The South Block is pictured.
"There is a need for sensitization that these things are not meant for decorating and that standards must be maintained and conventions must be followed as they are being followed in the rest of the world," KK Kapila, who heads the Infrastructure Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), told IBN Live.
"And we as a poor nation cannot afford the luxury of changing colors every now and then."
International Traffic Guidelines
Critics also say the colors do not comply with international traffic guidelines. Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament for Delhi, called the move illogical and dangerous.
"I have recently written to NDMC on the safety hazard behind the move, but on the contrary, they are busy painting the street side pink and green," she told The Economic Times of India.
"I am very worried because the fog is going to set in soon in Delhi, and the curbs and dividers would not be visible."
Lekhi said NDMC had not responeded to her letter.