Hazratganj: The heart of Lucknow needs a makeover
Overflowing garbage bins, stained walls, defunct fountains, dirty benches and vehicles parked on pavements are an eyesore for visitorslucknow Updated: Apr 13, 2017 12:43 IST
Hazratganj – the heart of Lucknow – had regained its lost glory after Rs 80-crore facelift in 2011-12. Six years on, the 200-year-old promenade is once again showing signs of ageing for the want of upkeep.
Broken balustrades, overflowing garbage bins, stained walls, defunct fountains, dirty benches and vehicles parked on stinking pavements are an eyesore for Lucknowites who have always taken pride in describing the ‘Ganjing experience’ to anyone living in other cities.
Though there is dust in the air due to the ongoing Lucknow Metro work, LMRC takes good care of the filth produced by its works, feel local shopkeepers.
It was six years back when prominent urban planner Nasser Munjee and architect Ashish Srivastava scripted Ganj’s journey back in time. They painstakingly prepared designs to revitalise and restore the exquisite architectural heritage of Ganj when it completed 200 years. But today things are back to square one.
Government departments like LDA, LMC, LESA, Jal Sansthan, Jal Nigam, along with Hazratganj Traders’ Association, and office-bearers of Lucknow Connect were involved in the planning of Ganj renovation. The state government also granted funds for the makeover.
“It took hundreds of meetings, discussions and exchange of ideas for the facelift of Ganj, but what peeves me is the casual approach on part of authorities, shopkeepers in maintaining the heritage that has resulted in this mess,” said Asheesh Srivastava.
- Broken balustrades, overflowing garbage bins, stained walls, defunct fountains, dirty benches and vehicles parked on stinking pavements are an eyesore for Lucknowites.
- Signage uniformity is lacking and some big hoardings are back. Some eateries are occupying galleries and footpaths. They serve chaat and people throw edibles on the pavement and road.
- Staff of these shops park their vehicles on pavements. It is due to apathy of shopkeepers, balustrades installed to stop entry of vehicles on pavements are stolen.
- In the first step to make Alambagh the cleanest area of Lucknow, the residents of Alambagh and volunteers of Alambagh Gurudwara distributed 200 dustbins to shopkeepers in September 2014.
- Besides, six schools organised poster, painting and slogan competitions to highlight the importance of cleanliness on streets.
- The best posters, paintings and slogans were displayed at important places and shops of the area and the participants were given prizes.
Signage uniformity is lacking, encroachment & some big hoardings are back.
“Traders want better facilities and easier maintenance but they are shying away from their responsibilities. Some restaurants are still occupying galleries and footpaths. They serve chaat and people throw edibles on the pavement and road. Besides, the staff of these shops park their vehicles on pavements. It is due to apathy of shopkeepers, balustrades installed to stop entry of vehicles on pavements are stolen. People also allege that it is at behest of shopkeepers the stoppers have been removed,” said one of the Ganj traders.
He added, “Traders are helpless if filth is spread by encroachers who are protected by politicians. During the previous government regime, a local MLA used to issue slips to the encroachers which used to act as a ticket for them. These encroachers have set up chaat corners, chowmein kiosks on Ganj road giving damn to the cleanliness of the area. When they go back home at night, they dump all their garbage in the middle of the road.”
“Traders cannot ask them to remove their encroachments because they have the ‘ticket’ from politicians. The police were also helpless during that time. But now when the BJP government is talking about Swacch Bharat campaign, traders want the sanctity of no-vending zone restored,” he added.
Vinod Punjabi, another prominent trader of the area, said, “The traders are ready to contribute even to keep the area clean. We don’t want Ganj to become another Nakkhas where filth rules because of encroachments.”
He feels if Ganj doesn’t learn its lesson soon, it will face serious threat from malls and upcoming markets that provide amenities like convenient parking, washrooms etc. Thus, to retain its numero uno position, Ganj will have to sustain itself on its heritage, character and flavour, which the modern commercial hubs lack, he emphasised.
Kishan Chand Bhambwani, president, Hazratganj Traders’ Association (HTA) said, “The HTA will help in cleaning the place, provided we are also heard by authorities. We are ignored because of those who don’t belong to Ganj, the encroachers have no pride attached to the place, they don’t care about its heritage value. We want to clean the stinking spots but they have blocked them. Similarly, Ganj parking, which is one of the best, is turned into a garbage bin, its toilets are stinking. Newal Kishore Road, Shahnajaf road and Lalbagh are also full of filth.”
However, after the formation of the new government traders feel that Hazratganj would retain its old glory.
“We have engaged a private company for cleaning Ganj. They pick up garbage from every shop and cleans the market twice a day,” said municipal commissioner Udairaj Singh.
“The LMC has been conducting anti-encroachment drives in the past. Just five days back, we conducted a drive and removed all encroachers from the market but they came back. It’s for the police to stop them from returning once the corporation clears the area,” he said.