Srinagar, April 15: State ban on the movement of civilian traffic on Jammu-Srinagar highway twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays, has started to take its toll on livelihood of vendors as well as customers who are connected to the weekly Sunday market, Lal Chowk, in Srinagar.
The ban is also hitting trade at Makka Market, Goni Khan Market and Hari Singh High Street in the city. Vendors say that customer footfall has dwindled since the highway ban began.
“As the authorities locked down the highway, people living in areas other than Srinagar city are not able to reach the Sunday market and different adjoining markets. It has caused a sharp decline in sales,” said a vendor.
Nearly 2,000 families are dependent on the Sunday market in Srinagar. Some vendors said they operate only once a week and all their business is centred on the Sunday market. They said the ban on civilian traffic on Sunday has stopped a significant customer flow that came from areas of north and south Kashmir.
A vendor at Makka market, which adjoins Lal Chowk, said that customers are finding it difficult to reach and his sales were “almost zero” today. “Prior to the highway ban, every Sunday our sales would touch Rs 80,000. But during the last two Sundays I have not managed sales of Rs 30,000,” said Furkaan Ahmad, a vendor at the Sunday market in Lal Chowk. Another vendor, Javed Ahmad, said that the authorities should immediately roll back this decision as the livelihood of many people is at stake.