Srinagar, Sep 6: The famous 3-km-long “ Sunday Market” in the heart of the summer capital, Srinagar, remained closed since March due to COVID-19 pandemic despite authorities lifting restrictions from August 17, allowing shops and business establishments to reopen and passenger traffic to ply.
However, the market from Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) to Hari Singh High Street (HSHS) , including Regal Chowk, historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, Amira Kadal remained deserted. Security forces and police personnel remained deployed to maintain law and order. However, at Municipal park there were two vendors and one in Gantaghar area who also later left for their homes. Other markets also remained closed in the city due to Sunday.
Hundreds of vendors, selling from a simple needle to carpets, were setting up their stalls on both sides of the Residency road before the lock down. During this time of the season vendors were selling warm cloths, including warmers, sweaters, blankets and bedding besides shoes besides utensils.
The continuous closure of the famous market, which attracts customers from across Kashmir valley, has badly affected the vendors, who claim that they have incurred losses to the tune of crores of rupees. A vendor Abdul Rashid from Gaw Kadal who was selling shawls and suits claimed that he used to earn somewhere around Rs 5000 to Rs 7000 every Sunday in the flea market. But from last over six months, we (vendors) have not been allowed to set up stalls in the weekly market. We are also in favour of taking all measures necessary to control further spread of COVID, but authorities should also take into consideration our financial problems as some of us are now facing starvation due to closure of the market. He said authorities should issue guidelines and reopen the weekly market so that they can earn and feed their families with dignity and respect. Another vendor now working as labourer, said we have do some work to feed our families.
The district administration has allowed to resume business activities and transport with some guidelines.
However, relaxation in lockdown has witnessed surge in the COVID-19 positive cases. During the first five days of September 621 Coronavirus cases were reported in Srinagar district, mainly due to non seriousness of common people who are moving without wearing masks and keeping social distance. Similar sciences were being witnessed in passenger vehicles, operating on city routes.
So far Srinagar district has recorded 9985 positive cases and 233 deaths due to COVID-19 pandemic till September 5.