Fancy Bazar residents call for Jail Bharo
GUWAHATI: Harassed by the parking troubles in and around Fancy Bazar, the residents as well as traders have begun a campaign to demand better parking facilities in the market area.
They have demanded the district administration to open up the existing old central jail campus and to utilise it for parking purpose. The shop-owners informed that with the festive season being around the corner, Fancy Bazar and nearby areas remain heavily congested due to the shoppers thronging the markets.
Sanjay Kumar Sureka, a lawyer from Fancy Bazar informed G Plus that their major demand is that the government should make the old central jail premise an authorised parking zone for easing the traffic snarls.
Local traders informed that the old central jail premises constitute around 80 bighas of land. From that around 20 bighas of land was allotted by the government to different organisations and the rest 60 bighas of land is currently lying vacant.
Initially after the shifting of the old jail, a parking facility was created at the jail premise and the locals were allowed to park their vehicle against a fee and it was being operated smoothly for around two years.
However, the parking facility which has a capacity to park 1000 cars was stopped suddenly.
Residents feel that this step will benefit and develop the entire greater Guwahati area including Athgaon, AT Road, Fancy Bazar, Pan Bazar among others.
“As this is a major trade hub, if there will be a designated parking space for parking 1000 cars, it will come as a major relief to the residents, traders and shoppers alike. Since this is a business centre and people from all over the Northeast visit Fancy Bazar, a proper parking place will be in everyone’s interest,” said Sureka.
He added that since people often park their cars on roadsides in the absence of a designated space, the roads are also not cleaned properly making the entire stretch of road dirty and filled with garbage.
“Currently the old jail premise is opened up for allowing car parking only on Sundays for the walking zone and remains closed for rest of the week, which seems illogical. The government should open it up on other days as well,” said another resident of the area.
Further, the government had earlier planned to turn the area into a botanical garden, informed authorities.
Parking trouble leading to dip in sales
Ravi Jhunjhunwala, a shop-owner at Fancy Bazar informed G Plus that owing to the traffic and parking menace, his sales in the last few years have seen a tremendous decline as compared to the previous years.
“The business has been adversely affected for me and for other shopkeepers. I have seen a dip of at least 50% customers this year as people don’t feel like shopping in a congested space without any parking facility,” he said.
He added that apart from the traders and shopkeepers, the common public is also getting harassed every day and hence they, too, are raising their voice for this.
Further, the traders have been conducting talks with the government authorities regarding the issue and they held a meeting for the same with deputy commissioner Virendra Mittal on Friday to discuss possible solutions to traffic congestion around the Fancy Bazar area.
Another trader from Fancy Bazar, Anirudh Siotia complained that customers are usually reluctant to enter the market area nowadays since they do not get a parking spot for their vehicles. He added that this has negatively affected his business this year by almost 70% when compared to the previous year.
“The government is not utilising the already existing parking complex for the benefit of the locals and customers and it is getting wasted while giving rise to troubles for citizens. People are left wondering the reason behind the government’s decision to not allow the people to use the space for parking,” he added.
Siotia also blamed the traffic police officials manning the area for not managing the traffic properly.
“A lot of times I have observed that the traffic police personnel often do not pay enough attention or are seen standing huddled in a corner. This leads to vehicles being parked in a haywire manner and creates further problems,” said Siotia.
He further added that the having seen the changes over the years, the scenario was completely different around 10 years ago. Earlier there was proper parking facility for all vehicles of shoppers and traders and the road was also two-way. This led to less congestion and smoother management of traffic. Additionally, there were fewer vehicles plying on the roads.
“As the city is growing at a rapid pace over the past few years, the number vehicles have also increased by at least four to five times, resulting in more traffic snarls,” said another trader.
Another shopkeeper Nirmal Dudhoria, stressed on the need for the government to prioritise the need and requirements of the residents, rather than converting the jail premises into a botanical garden.
All India Professional Congress demands
The vice-president of the All India Professional Congress (AIPC) Gauravv Somani on October 4 submitted a memorandum to the leader of the opposition Debabrata Saikia in which the AIPC draws the attention on parking issues in Fancy Bazar.
The memorandum has also stressed on the need to organise the hawkers in the market and providing them with a designated space, preferably a building.
“This would sort out a lot of problems as hawkers have not only occupied pavements but have also occupied most of the roads in the market. Shifting all the hawkers to some other place- most probably a building- will bring out more space which can be used for parking the vehicles,” states the memorandum.
Further, the traders of Fancy Bazar in their meeting with the DC and submitted a list of their demands. They asked in the letter to open the multi-level car parking near Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital, Pan Bazar, at the earliest.
Additionally, they also brought to the DC’s attention some other plots of land which are not being utilised by the government- some of these include land located in Machkhowa, Fancy Bazar Outpost and near the PWD office area located at MG Road.
They mentioned that these plots should be developed by the government which can aid not only in beautifying the city but will also solving parking woes of the citizens.