With the fasting month of Ramzan less than two weeks away, traders in the biggest market in the Old City stretching from Madina Circle to Charminar and beyond are apprehensive about their business prospects. They fear that there could be less number of buyers visiting the market this season owing to dug up roads leading to drastic reduction in parking space.
The government started the Charminar Pedestrianisation Project last year promising that it would be completed before the advent of Ramzan. But the latest is that it would take at least six more months to complete the project.
The 60-feet wide road between Madina Circle and Charminar was reduced to 40-feet following the implementation of the project. About 20 feet of the road was earmarked for pedestrians by erecting five feet bollards. Earlier, this was being used for parking vehicles.
With works not completing, the stretch from Gulzar Hauz to Charminar was made one-bollardway. The road going to Chudi Bazaar has almost been closed and the buyers have to take a detour from Lad Bazaar to reach there. In Patel Market which is close to Madina Circle and Khilwat where Chowmohalla Palace is located, the roads are under repair. The movement of four-wheelers in Patel Market has come to a stop.
“During Ramzan when the shopping would be at its peak, there is no place to park vehicles here. There are also no sufficient numbers of cops to direct and control the movement of people. There has been no parking space in this market for years. With this project, the situation has worsened,” Old City Traders Association General Secretary Abid Mohiuddin rued.
There are about 20,000 shops located between Patel Market and Khilwat. They along with petty traders on footpaths conduct business worth hundreds of crores of rupees during Ramzan. Nearly 25 lakh people visit that area every fasting season.
The jewellers said they are receiving calls from customers whether they could be provided with vehicle parking facility if they visit them. “We have no answer since there is no space available for even our vehicles,” one of jewellers said.
The trading community is expected to meet senior GHMC officials with their plea to solve their problems. They are also planning to meet the City Police Commissioner and request him to deploy more cops, both for better traffic management and keeping round-the-clock vigil on the bustling bazaar. However, it does not seem that anything would work out by this Ramzan. TOI