Vehicle-free trial at Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar sees backlash from shopkeepers: ‘Business will be hit’

The week-long pedestrianisation trial that began in Sadar Bazar Saturday saw heavy backlash as shopkeepers closed their shutters in protest and demanded the trial be rolled back. As part of the trial, the 600-metre-long Sadar Bazar Market Street and a school zone have been cordoned off and entry of vehicles barred, in an effort to make the streets “more welcoming” to pedestrians.

Although officials from the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram said a “parking management and mobility plan” has been prepared, with designated parking for two-wheelers and four-wheelers “100 metres” from the market, shopkeepers fear this will not be enough to keep customers coming.

“We closed our shops to express our displeasure against this trial. It will cause big losses for us at a time when we were just starting to regain business after coronavirus. Our customers come on cycles and motorcycles, take their items within minutes, and leave. Declaring the market a no-vehicle zone means most people will stop coming,” said Bablu Gupta, president of the Sadar Bazar Market Association.

The contentions raised by shopkeepers were taken up during a meeting with MCG Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh Saturday evening, with officials expecting that the trial will proceed smoothly from Sunday.

“Traders and shopkeepers have given many suggestions regarding the trial, and whatever feedback we get from them and customers is being taken into consideration so it can be applied to this model,” said Singh.

Sadar Bazar is Gurgaon’s oldest market, with 302 shops at the ground floor level.

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