Srinagar: The shopkeepers at the historic Polo View Market – named as ‘High Street’ under the Srinagar Smart City Project – say their business has dropped by 50 percent since the work began last year. The project was supposed to be completed by November 2022 but the work is nowhere near completion.
Haji Mohammad Ismail, president of the Polo View Market Association, told the news agency –Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that since the start of the project, the shopkeepers have been facing tough times.
“As this market has a global identity and is a favorite shopping zone for visitors, the removal of the parking zone and its absence has adversely affected the footfall with hardly any visitor coming here now,” he said. “The ongoing project has cost us the business as we are witnessing a drop of 50 percent in sales.”
Haji, however, said that keeping in view the sketch of the revamped Polo View shown to them, the market will look more beautiful in the future. “But we only see the authorities missing deadlines for completion,” he said. “We hope the project is completed very soon.”
The authorities of Srinagar Smart City last year said they expected the completion of the project by the end of November 2022.
Another shopkeeper said despite spending significant money on the project, the execution process has been “very poor”. “The work is going on at a snail’s pace,” he said.
The president of the market said, “We want its completion at the earliest as the authorities have told us that the work on the project will be completed by the end of this month. The delay has taken a huge toll on our earnings and we cannot continue to bear further losses.”
The market used to have a Sumo stand behind it at the south end of the street on the Polo Ground side on more than two kanals of land which now has been converted into a motorable road.
Last year in February, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha laid the foundation stone of the ‘Polo View Market Development & Upgradation Project’ under the Srinagar Smart City.
As per the officials familiar with the project, the makeover of Polo View Street involves Pedestrianisation, Utility Undergrounding, development of public amenities, aesthetic improvement, etc—(KNO)
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