Pulwama: It is 2:30 pm and Mushtaq Parwana is sitting inside his shop located in a narrow alley in south Kashmir’s Pulwama town. For the last few hours, no customer has shown up at his shop.
The street, which once used to be teeming with shoppers, wears a deserted look now.
“Our business has been going through a rough patch ever since the government shifted the main bus stand from the area,” said Parwana, who deals in wool.
In January 2021, the district administration moved the bus stand to Drusoo village, over 2 km from the main town, affecting the business of hundreds of shopkeepers.
“We were already grappling with the losses owing to the long-drawn-out lockdowns during the past couple of years and this administrative decision hit us badly,” said another businessman.
He said that they opposed the move vociferously but to no avail.
“Even the administration held a flurry of meetings with the traders, but they did not budge from their stand of shifting the bus stand,” he said.
Secretary Traders Federation Pulwama, Muhammad Altaf Kar told Greater Kashmir that around 600 businessmen whose shops were located in and around the old bus stand were affected badly.
“The most-affected markets include Iqbal Market, Court Road Market, Chudiya Market and Main Bazaar,” Kar said.
He said that due to the shifting of the bus stand, most of the customers preferred to bypass the main town.
“The move was aimed at doing away with the traffic snarls in the town but there has hardly been any visible effect on it,” Kar said.
Besides the business community, the move has also caused tremendous hardships to the travellers.
“We have to walk at least 2 km or hire shared cabs to reach the new bus stand,” said Arshad Hussain, a commuter.
The business community of the town demanded that the authorities should allow the cabs, at least for Awantipora and Srinagar routes, to operate from the old bus stand.