Srinagar, April 15: The ‘Sunday Market’ that opens every week from Jehangir Chowk to Rajbagh Bridge has been badly hit by the Highway ban that has restricted peoples’ movement on Sundays and Wednesdays.
“More than half of our customers are gone,” Arshid Keenu, a vendor who sells quilts in the market told KNO. Keenu is not the only one raising concerns over the ban but is seconded by other vendors as well. The markets draw a huge rush every week from all stratas of society to buy cheap household items, garments and other things.
According to vendors a huge chunk of customers drives to the market from north and south Kashmir and after the Highway ban almost half of the customers are gone. “City people do show up at the market but the whole population from south Kashmir and north Kashmir are not able to reach the place,” Mohammad Shafiq Ganei, a vendor said.
According to KNO Correspondent, Ganei said that the market while looks busy but that bustle that would engulf the market is gone. “People drive from Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara, Bandipora and from south Kashmir as well,” he claimed.
Vendors claimed the sales had grown following new highway was constructed towards south Kashmir as drive was easy and saved a lot of time. “People from south like Tral, Pulwama, Shopian, Islamabad and Kulgam would easily come to market as the new highway reduced time of travelling and also the jams were gone,” a group of vendors claimed.
The business, they claim, has been hit and the ban has crippled them as following shoot up in sales the demand and supply chain was improvised by them.
“Demand for products was up and it was good business. As a business man when you know that you have one day to garner customers you plan accordingly and want to provide your customer all choices,”Tanveer Farooqi claimed, adding that much of their purchases are lying idle. He said that the wait for May ending is taking toll on them, as the ban is said to end by that month.
People mainly who cannot buy high priced items throng the market and also other well off people but since the road is closed only Srinagar and parts of Ganderbal is showing up. “We had a huge customer base from Pampore and Tangmarg but now its chance game,” Abdul Ahad Waza claimed. Waza deals with gardening tools.
The ban has been criticised by across the divide politicians however government in its latest order made an exception of lawyers and medical emergency including people associated with the profession. Government ordered closure of Highway, from Udhampur to Baramulla, two days a week i.e Sundays and Wednesdays every week till May ending.
The move they claim is to facilitate smooth movement of forces convoys plying on the Highway. “One should not be shocked by the overwhelming claims made by us. Traffic police every week diverts traffic from this stretch because of huge public movement here,” Waza said