Games digging hits Daryaganj Sunday book market

The small-time traders who sell old and second-hand books at footpaths in Daryaganj every Sunday morning are an aggrieved lot these days as Games-related work has affected their business badly.

"Ever since the authorities dug up the pavement for Games-related work, our business has decreased by 50 per cent and we are suffering losses," says Subhash Chand Agrawal, president, Sunday Book Bazaar Patri Welfare Association.
The vendors were peeved at the timing of initiating a project which was aimed at shifting the dangerous tangle of overhead cables underground in the walled city and giving Daryaganj a presentable look before the Commonwealth games.
Agrawal points out that the work started at a time when it is the peak season for book-sellers.

"The examination season got over recently. Now, students, especially those from economically weaker sections are looking for second-hand books in the market and with the construction work going on, the overall spirit has dampened," he says.
The weekly hustle and bustle of this market stretching over a kilometre from Delhi Gate to Iron Bridge has been missing for the many Sundays now with workers busy in digging up the pavement for the purpose of burying the cables.

"We do not have proper shops. The customers have to sift through the old books to get their books of choice while standing. Since the pavement is in a really bad shape, there is no place for them to stand and hence most of our customers avoid coming to this place these days," explains Qamar Saeed, the vice-president of the Patri Association.

He said in normal time, 25,000 people visit this half-a- century old market having 200-odd book stalls every Sunday.
Inspite of the fact that Delhi government had fixed August 20 as the deadline for the digging and road-cutting work, workers continue to the violate this cut-off date.
BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, undertaking cable-laying in the area, blames Independence Day celebrations and massive rains in the national capital for the delay in starting the work.

"Since the area is very close to the Red Fort (the main centre for Independence day celebrations), police did not allow any digging work in the area upto 15th of August. Ninety per cent of the work is already done and we expect the work to finish by September 20," sources in the department told PTI.
The delay though is giving a hard time to book-lovers and students. "I came here to buy some cheap books but the market is in an absolute mess, its difficult even to walk on this broken pavement," says Rakesh Kumar, a civil service aspirant, who has come all the way from Rajasthan.
"It takes some skill to walk on this foot-path, there are lots of potholes," says Aakash, a college student.

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