Vehicles out, golf carts in
Going to Zaveri Bazar might be quite an ordeal for you right now, since you will not be allowed to drive your car or a taxi next to the shop in the lane you want.
But in three months, you will have golf carts pick you up from the place where you leave your vehicle and will drop you at your final destination. This, thanks to a novel move by the merchants and store-owners in the locality.
Around 20 associations of merchants situated in Zaveri Bazar have got together to block all 22 lanes in the area with barricades banning entry for all kinds of vehicles. Currently, people have to leave their vehicles at certain entry points to the market, from where walk inside the market. The walk is anywhere between half to one kilometer, depending on where they leave their vehicle and where they have to go.
The associations took this step with the help of traffic police, the local police and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to fortify the area, in wake of the July 13 bomb blast.
"Blocking these lanes might be a hindrance for shop owners, those working here and also for those visiting the area. But it is necessary from the security perspective," said Kumar Jain, vice-president of Mumbai Jewellers' Association.
But Jain said the hardship wouldn't be for a long, as for the convenience of all, the associations have decided to buy at least three battery-operated golf carts, which will keep on moving in the area and ferry people across the locality.
Jain expects the service to start in the three months.
"Senior citizens and the handicapped will get priority in using these golf carts," said Jain. He added that for the first three months, the service will be free. Thereafter, a fee will be introduced per trip.
Jain said that the several associations will meet soon to decide on funds required to purchase the vehicles. "We will soon decide how to gather funds for golf cars," he stated.
As part of this project, all the lanes have been rid of hawkers. "We will also put benches inside the lanes and beautify the area by making small gardens, so that hawkers do not come back," Jain revealed.
The associations have also requested the police to conduct frequent security checks in the area. "We have agreed to pay for this," said Jain.
He added that initial cost of security arrangements, which include cordoning off all lanes for vehicular entry, installing metal detectors at entry points, putting up closed-circuit television cameras in the entire area, putting benches, making gardens and one-year payment for security checks using sniffer dogs will cost around Rs80 lakh.