G20 Summit: Markets outside New Delhi controlled zone see very low footfall
Market associations said that footfall at some places was so low that shops downed their shutters early in the afternoon
Most markets beyond the New Delhi area were vacant throughout Friday, as residents in the national capital stayed home and away from public spaces amid concerns over restrictions put in place for the G20 Summit.
The footfall was so low in some areas, said market associations, that it prompted shops to down their shutters early in the afternoon.
Ashwini Marwah, general secretary of the Lajpat Nagar traders’ association, said local authorities and the market association had carried out several measures to revamp public spaces in the popular commercial hub.
“However, we did not have even 10% of the normal footfall on Friday. Lajpat Nagar does not fall in the controlled zone. Yet, people are barely visiting markets,” Marwah said.
All markets in the New Delhi district will be shut till September 10, as part of prohibitions in place during the G20 Summit, which will kick off at Pragati Maidan on Saturday.
The markets include Connaught Place, Malcha Marg shopping complex, Khan Market, Shankar Market, Janpath, Mohan Singh Place, and Palika Bazaar.
All other markets, however, will remain open for visitors.
Sarojini Nagar market, one of the few shopping spaces under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) not subject to G20-related curbs, also had few customers.
“Business is down 90%. People are not leaving their homes. It could be due to the fear of or miscommunication about the restrictions,” said Ashok Randhawa, who heads the Sarojini Nagar mini market association. Ahead of the G20 Summit, several markets and commercial spaces were part of the beautification drives undertaken by civic agencies.
These included markets in Greater Kailash, South Extension, Lajpat Nagar and Saket, among others.
Rajender Sharda, who heads the M-Block market association in Greater Kailash 1, said traders reported only 20-25% of their usual Friday business. “We were hoping that the G20 Summit would act as a boost for trade. The weekend will be the real test,” Sharda said.
Some traders said that restrictions on vehicular movement had hit the restocking of goods and caused other logistical problems.
Brijesh Goyal, chairperson of the Chamber of Trade and Industries (CTI), said that the traders in Kashmere Gate area kept their shops open only for three hours as there was no business and logistics provisions.
“I am also returning home after half day while many wholesale market associations are even considering keeping their shops shut on the weekend. All the means of logistics and transportation have been stopped. We can’t receive goods or undertake business. The customers from other states are also avoiding Delhi due to restrictions. We have consulted with market associations in Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazar, Kamala Nagar and Chawri Bazaar and a similar situation prevails there,” Goyal said.