SRINAGAR: The Sunday Market at Srinagar’s business hub Lal Chowk remained suspended a day before the R-Day, causing financial loss to about 700 vendors associated with it.
The weekly market, set up from Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) to Amira Kadal here, is known for secondhand goods sold on stalls by the vendors. Besides, the Market owes its reputation to the fresh daily-use products made available at cheaper rates.
For its proximity to Bakhshi Stadium—the main venue for official celebrations on R-Day in this summer capital of the state, the market didn’t witness any business this Sunday.
Otherwise filled with stalls and shoppers, the footpaths and streets were almost deserted and guarded by police and paramilitary CRPF.
The vendors told Kashmir Reader that police had instructed them not to operate.
“About five days ago, the police officials directed us not to set the stalls. We were asked to do so due to security reasons,” vendors told Kashmir Reader.
“Police officials told us that the instructions had come from the top,” they said.
According to Young Sher-e-Kashmir Footpath Union, the body representing the traders associated with Sunday Market, about 700 vendors depend on the business for their livelihood.
And suspension of the work, they said, was causing financial losses to the vendors. More so, when the Market has been witnessing an added rush after the floods, they added.
“After floods, we were witnessing an added rush of shoppers, who were interested in buying the partially damaged or secondhand goods. But today there was no business at all,” a former president of the Union told Kashmir Reader.
“It is not just the matter of 700 vendors associated with the Sunday Market, but it is about 700 families. We wait for Sundays for almost the whole week to make some profit,” he added.
If the vendors are to be believed, police has been disallowing them to operate anywhere around the city centre.
“Our work has been affected for past five or six days. Police doesn’t allow us to set stalls anywhere around Lal Chowk,” they said.
An official at Police Station Kothibagh here confirmed that the Market remained suspended on official directions.
“It is just a precautionary measure taken ahead of January 26. The directions are verbally communicated to the vendors,” the official told Kashmir Reader.