Sunday book market at Delhi’s Daryaganj shuts down
For Asharfilal Varma (60), selling books every Sunday to students, teachers and aspirants of competitive examinations was the only source of income.
This weekend, however, for the second time, in a row he will not be setting up his stall at the historic and popular Sunday book market at Daryaganj in the Walled City.
The Sunday book market has been shut down following a July order by the Delhi High Court.
According to the court directive, no weekly market would be permitted on Sundays at Netaji Subhash Marg (NS Marg) near Jama Masjid. The order came in response to the Delhi traffic police submitting a report to the court suggesting that the NS Marg is a very busy road which sees high traffic volumes at all times and that book sellers occupy the footpath, leaving no space for pedestrians.
“We are merely going by the Delhi High Court order. The court has declared the Netaji Subhash Marg a ‘no-squatting and no-hawking’ zone, so the book market cannot operate out of there,” Veditha Reddy, deputy commissioner of the ‘City Sadar-Paharganj’ zone of the north Delhi municipal corporation, said.
The decision is expected to cause huge financial strain on more than 250 book sellers, the weekend market being the only source of income for a majority of them. “I used to earn a weekly income of about ₹8,000 to ₹10,000 which was sufficient to meet my family’s expenses,” said Surinder Singh, who sold books at Daryaganj for 20 years. He said he is now clueless as to the future of his family, with no idea as to when the market would open again.
Officials of the north corp said they are trying to relocate the market. “I advised them (book sellers) to run the market from the Ramlila Maidan this Sunday (July 4) till the time a Town Vending Committee is constituted and a permanent alternate location is found for them, but they refused. We are trying to help them out so that the popular market can run again,” Reddy said.
When asked why book sellers did not agree to shift to the market to the Ramlila Maidan, Varma said: “The Ramlila Maidan is a hub of festivities and rallies. As it is, we run the market only on Sundays. Even then we lose out on the two Sundays approaching Republic Day and Independence Day. At Ramlila Maidan, we will lose out on many more days of business.”
The market, which ran between Delite cinema and Golcha cinema, was shut down temporarily in January last year as well, but was reopened after a break of five weeks.