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Will mall mania knock old bazaars out?

THE BIG Bazaar (Big B) challenge has triggered a fresh battle of survival for old city markets. But can the oldies fight on the new stage? If yes, can they really emerge winners?

india Updated: May 01, 2006 04:52 IST

THE BIG Bazaar (Big B) challenge has triggered a fresh battle of survival for old city markets. But can the oldies fight on the new stage? If yes, can they really emerge winners?

They know they have to fight against dare, dash and décor of mall market-ism if they want to survive. And that’s a big challenge. Some of old biggies even acknowledge—it’s a dying battle! Nevertheless, the fight has been kept up by some new colony markets like Gomti Nagar, Aliganj and Mahanagar markets. They now showcase western goodies, gadgets and grandeur to save customers from being malled away! But,  Aminabad, Kaiserbagh,  Charbagh markets can’t do much to get out of their medieval looks. 

President of Hazratganj Traders’ Association Kishenchand Bhambwani says, “We have to change with the time if we want to stay in the market. We keep on changing the internal décor of the showroom after every three to four years to attract customers. But, our hands are tied. Ganj is a heritage market, we cannot modify the outer.”

However, Ganj is still better off. But, what about markets like Kaiserbagh.,
Adarsh Vyapar Mandal president Sanjay Gupta says, “Ganj has maximum garment shops, which set the fashion trend of the city. But, when we talk of Kaiserbagh as a market, we should remember that there are mostly shops of medicine and goggles and glasses. Besides, it has one or two restaurants, hotels and a cinema hall, which have a different type of clientele that’s why they continue with the old type of décor.”

General secretary of Aminabad Traders’ Association Sushil Gurnani says, “I invested a heavy amount in the renovation of my shop two years back. But, I am repenting my decision today. As there is no return when you compare it with the investment I made. Had I made the similar investment in any other market I would have got heavy returns.”

“Today Aminabad is a dying market. No one in the administration is concerned about the market, which is choked on encroachments, poor parking traffic congestion, and constant threat of fire.”

Traders of Aminabad have written several times to the district magistrate, divisional commissioner, MLA and even the ministers to remove the encroachments from the area. No one can bring a four-wheeler in the market. Even the movement of two wheelers is impossible due to encroachments. We are losing sales and street vendors are making merry. We have lost 60 per cent of sales as people have stopped visiting the market due to the nuisance of street vendors, bad management of traffic and poor parking system.

A shopkeeper in Kaiserbagh on the condition of anonymity says, “We are having very poor sales in absence of proper parking, wayward traffic and
heavy encroachments. The vendors are of a specific community they are eyed by the politicians as a big vote bank that’s why any move of removing the encroachments from the roads is opposed.  If this continues for another 15 years, we would be forced to close our shops.”

NP Singh, resident of Aminabad says, “We keep our four-wheeler in a garage hired in Hazratganj. We cannot bring the vehicle near our house in the busy hours. I am thinking of moving to any other colony where at least I can keep my vehicle with me.”