Srinagar: The popular Sunday market in Srinagar stayed closed for the second consecutive week as a precautionary measure in view of the coronavirus threat.
The Sunday market, held on a 3-km road stretch from Radio Kashmir office to Lal Chowk, usually attracts thousands of customers from different parts of the valley. Business worth crores of rupees is done every week in the market in which goods, ranging from a hairpin to carpets, are sold at economical rates.
However, for the second consecutive Sunday, the road on which the market is held was deserted. Vendors who had come for the market said that police did not allow them to put up stalls.
“It is harsh that we were not allowed to put up stalls, as the Sunday market is our only source of income. If a gathering of people is dangerous, then why are hundreds of people assembled in the markets of Goni Khan, Batamloo, and Lal Chowk on normal days?” asked an irate vendor.
Other vendors said that the Sunday market is often affected by one thing or another. “Either it is the turmoil or a thing like coronavirus. These empty roads tell of the fate of Kashmir. The Sunday market is often a symbol of normalcy but it has been turned into a haunted place due to coronavirus phobia. Once again the Kashmir economy will suffer,” said a group of vendors.
They said that they know not how they will earn their living. “First we suffered due to last year’s lockdown, and now for this new reason,” they said.
Abdul Majeed, a vendor, asked why there is a need to close the market when the government is claiming to be carrying out sanitation and fumigation. “On all other days markets are functional. Then why are the authorities closing down the market on Sundays?” he asked.
The mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation said that the order to shut the market was issued as a precautionary measure in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We won’t be allowing the weekly Sunday market in Srinagar till further orders. Nor will there be any other hawkers’ flea market at any other place in the city till conveyed otherwise. There will also be no public sporting events within the city limits,” said Mayor Junaid Azim Mattoo.
Apart from the Sunday market, hawkers in many other markets were not operating today, including at Batamlaoo, Hari Singh High Street, and Goni Khan. As per witnesses, some hawkers were seen setting up their stalls in these markets in the second half of the day.