Pune’s 70-year-old Juna Bazaar closed due to traffic congestion, shopkeepers protest
Started during the British era, 70-year-old historic Juna Bazaar, also known as ‘chor bazar’ in Mangalwar peth was shut down on Wednesday following a police notification mentioning a ban on selling goods at the roadside. The bazar is usually set-up on Wednesdays and Sundays in the area.
The police have now converted the stretch between Kumbhar wada till the Juna Bazaar signal as a no parking zone, though the notification states that the ban is temporary and that the police will examine it for the next 30 days. This move by the traffic department prompted protest from shopkeepers.
The notification was issued on Tuesday by joint police commissioner (law and order) Ravindra Shisve after getting the proposal from deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Pankaj Deshmukh.
“We are dependent on this Juna bazaar for our daily bread and we were shocked to see police personnel in large numbers deployed in the area since morning,” said Rehmat Shabir Shaikh (65), a hardware seller, who sold goods since she was 10 years old.
“I live opposite the Juna Bazaar and like every week, I began setting up my shop at 6am, when I was stopped by policemen. There were so many of them and they told us to go back, saying that we will not be allowed to put up our stalls there,” added Shaikh.
Shopkeepers said that they were not informed about the move beforehand by the officials.
According to Juna Bazaar Vikrete Sanghatana, this sudden ban on them took 700 plus stall owners by surprise.
“I arrived at 8am with my goods and I was not even allowed to set up my stall,” said Nizambhai Kakar, president of the Juna Bazaar Vikrete Sanghatana.
“This is one of the oldest resale bazaars in the city and has been part of the city since the British period, in fact, the Britishers started giving us another day besides the Wednesday Bazaar and added Sunday to it, so that this business of retrofitting and resale could flourish,” he added.
According to Kakar, the location for Juna Bazaar was shifted earlier as well.
“Earlier, we were right in front of Shaniwarwada, and then we were moved to Bhamburda and were moved again when the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) wanted the space to build the PMC headquarters. We were given space in Mangalwar peth and then, the floods happened. Post the floods in 1961, this present space was allotted to us and since then we have been here,” said Kakar.
The Juna Bazaar stallholders then met with Madhav Jagtap, deputy commissioner, encroachment, PMC whereupon, he allotted them temporary space.
“There is a one acre land on the left-hand side of the road, which has ample space to accommodate their stalls. We have given them four feet by five feet space to set up their stalls with a warning, not to touch the carriageway of the road,” said Jagtap.
“We, DCP traffic Pankaj Deshmukh and I, have had several meetings and also visited the area two days ago to check the problem which was extreme traffic congestion during the Juna Bazaar days and hence, the decision to move them from the road was taken,” said Jagtap.