Delhi to shut down for G20 summit in September

Officials look to take millions of vehicles off the roads for summit to function

India's G20 summit logo depicted in a wall mural in New Delhi. AFP
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India's capital New Delhi will be shut down during the G20 summit next month, with authorities telling government offices, businesses and schools to send workers and pupils home.

The move is an attempt to keep traffic flowing in what is one of the world's most heavily congested cities.

The Group of Twenty, comprising 19 countries and the EU, addresses major issues related to the global economy, financial stability, climate change mitigation and sustainable development.

India holds the presidency this year and will host the annual meeting of heads of state and governments on September 9 and 10.

US President Joe Biden, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, China's President Xi Jinping and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among the world leaders who will be attending.

Federal authorities responsible for security in the capital region have asked the local Aam Aadmi Party-led government to declare a two-day holiday, keeping safety and security in mind as well as alleviating potential traffic congestion and logistical challenges.

“Since most of the arrivals will take place on September 8 and delegates will depart to their respective countries on September 10-11, there will be a massive movement of traffic which needs to be curtailed to ensure safe passage for the delegates from the airport to hotels and other venues during the summit,” the government said.

Delhi, home to 22 million people, has 13.4 million registered vehicles and the roads are choked with bumper-to-bumper traffic on a daily basis.

About 100 left-hand drive vehicles are also expected to be brought in by some G20 member countries to ferry their leaders, causing further operational challenges as the Indian traffic system is built for right-hand drive.

Media reports said that certain parts of the capital will remain out of bounds to the public over security concerns.

Mr Biden plans to arrive in Delhi on September 7, the White House said on Tuesday.

Updated: August 23, 2023, 5:45 AM