Fancy Bazar should be made a full walking-zone market: G Plus Poll
GUWAHATI: Fancy Bazar had been in news for the highly-touted plans of the government to convert the old central jail premises into a botanical garden and a total revamp of the market itself. The timeframe for these plans has not been announced yet and what we are still facing are traffic snarls and lack of basic facilities for shoppers in this business hub of northeast India.
The traffic problem in Fancy Bazar is not new, but at present it has reached such a stage where it can be called nothing but chaos. Though the administration has been trying to keep things under control, the shoppers, residents and the businesses feel that the market needs to do away with vehicles entering it and thereby further choking the already choked roads.
A recent poll by G Plus revealed that people are actually in favour of turning the whole market into a vehicle-free zone where shopping and walking experiences could be enjoyed.
Of the total 2,300 respondents, 80% were in support of a walking zone. They cited examples from other popular markets of the country that have been successfully turned into pedestrian areas.
Majority of the respondents questioned why the authorities weren’t building a multi-level parking area in the old central jail premises. They felt that by turning the premises into a parking lot much of the traffic congestion can be eased, thereby making shopping a better experience at Fancy Bazar. Almost all wanted the jail premises to be turned into a parking lot for shoppers and people visiting Fancy Bazar.
Lack of car parking was a major concern for everyone as there is no dedicated parking in Fancy Bazar. The multi-level car parking behind the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital has not been opened yet and there is no confirmation as to when it is going to become functional. Respondents said that the planned botanical garden and the multi-level parking at the jail premises can actually co-exist given the vast 56 bighas of land inside the jail campus.
The 20% respondents who were not in favour of making Fancy Bazar a pedestrian zone felt that making the market vehicle-free is not a good idea. It will create problems for those who are residing and having businesses in Fancy Bazar. If the parking comes up in one area, it will not be beneficial for those living in other parts of the market. Some suggested that the main shopping areas of Fancy Bazar should be made open for vehicles and a few areas can be made vehicle-free zones within the market.
Also, Fancy Bazar being the business hub of the northeast India witnesses a large number of goods carrying vehicles arriving from all over the country. Making it vehicle-free would mean that an alternative business hub or a site has to be developed first, opined many.
Some respondents who are also residents of Fancy Bazar suggested that hawkers should be provided designated spaces within Fancy Bazar and it should be organised. This would sort out a lot of problems as hawkers have not only occupied the 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, opined many.
Restricting vehicles completely is not a good idea said many, as most of the city’s markets are crowded and lack parking space. Some respondents were of the opinion that the movement of vehicles should be allowed, but parking on the roads should not be. Parking should be done only at designated parking spaces within the periphery of the market.