Normalcy in city comes undone | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Normalcy in city comes undone

All hopes of business picking up turned pale, as the Mehrauli blast once again had Delhites in the grip of panic and fear, reports Ritika Chopra.

delhi Updated: Sep 28, 2008 00:46 IST

It had taken two weeks for normalcy to return to markets across the Capital. But all of it came undone in a matter of hours on Saturday.

All hopes of business picking up turned pale, as the Mehrauli blast once again had Delhites in the grip of panic and fear.

Though heavy police deployment in Janpath, Chandni Chowk, Greater Kailash and Karol Bagh was in place soon after terrorists targeted the flower market in Mehrauli, it wasn’t enough to instil a sense of security in shoppers. Many cut their trip short and returned home.

“My little son here has been pointing out to the dustbins and asking me to keep away from them. He looks afraid and so we’re cutting our shopping spree short and going home,” said Bhavna Oberoi, a schoolteacher who was in Janpath market.

The security arrangement undertaken immediately was difficult to miss. Security checks were tightened and barricades were put up at the entry and exit points of all popular markets.

While, in a knee jerk reaction to the mishap, NDMC officials descended on Janpath and had shopkeepers remove encroachments, policemen with sniffer dogs were a common sight at the Chandi Chowk market. The latter, in fact led to a traffic snarl in the Walled City.

However, the damage was done already. The deserted look worn by the markets after the news of the blast trickled in will continue to stay for a few more weeks, said shopkeepers.

“This time of the year is usually our peak season in terms of business. But after the blasts, my business is down by a good 75 per cent. With another blast in Mehrauli, people will most probably stay away for even longer now,” said Ashok Khandelwal, shopkeeper in Beadonpura, Karol Bagh.

With crowds thinning, several shops in Bedonpura closed an hour early on Saturday.