Srinagar, Sept 13: Hundreds of vendors continued to suffer as the famous 3-km-long Sunday Market in the heart of the Srinagar city remained closed since March due to COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the vendors challenged the continued closure of the market by the district administration when shops and other business establishments are allowed to function and transport is plying in the valley, including Srinagar.
All business establishments remained closed in the civil lines on Sunday. During other days shops and business establishments are function on rotational basis as directed by the district administration.
Majority of vendors are facing starvation while some are working as labourers to feed their families, the vendors alleged.
Hundreds of vendors were selling different items, including sweaters and other warm cloths, blankets, utensils, shawls and carpets. The vendors from different parts of the city were putting up their stall on both sides of the road from Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) to Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, Ganta Ghar and Regal Chowk.
Let administration issue separate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to operate Sunday market which is providing livelihood to thousands of families, said a vendor Bilal Ahmad, a resident of Khanyar who was selling shawls and other warm cloths at the market.
We are ready to implement any SOP and other instructions to operate the market, which was attracting customers from different parts of the valley. Even tourists were making purchases in the market.
Another vendor Aijaz Ahmad, a resident of Nawa Kadal said last year it was due to curfew after August 5 when centre abrogated special status of the erstwhile state, vendors suffered huge losses. But, he said, when things were returning to normal, restriction due to COVID-19 were imposed by the administration in March this year.