The business community of Lal Chowk claims it has suffered immensely over the past seven months due to the maintenance work, yet hopes in the end it will be all worth the trouble.
“For the past seven to eight months, renovation has been going on. Although we are suffering tremendously, we hope to see better days … European design is being used in the construction of the Clock Tower. We have been told that we will see Paris in Srinagar now,” Suhail Shah, vice president Lal Chowk traders association, said.
Shah said the traders’ hope that the construction will be over by the middle of August.
“We have been given assurance by the SMC Commissioner and CEO Smart City Athar Amir Khan that we will see a new Lal Chowk after August 15,” he said.
Sadiya, another city resident, expects the Ghanta Ghar will be another option for the people of the city to hang out after the Polo View market. “Revamping is good as it will be a change of scene for everyone. Earlier, the Polo View market was renovated and it has become very beautiful and has turned into a tourist hot spot,” said Sadiya, upbeat despite the dug up roads. “It is a bit inconvenient the way the roads have been dug up but it is just a matter of time and it will be sorted. We will be left with a beautiful structure. Kashmir will be on the map for the recreational activities,” she said.
Athar Amir Khan, who is also the Commissioner of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, said Lal Chowk, being a historical place, is now being turned into a sapce which can appeal to the youths too.
“It is one of the most prominent and well recognized places in Srinagar. It is part of the central business and hub of commercial activity. We have designed it in such a way, like whe did the Polo View market, that it becomes a public space.
“A lot of tourists and locals come and stay here till late evening. Similarly the idea is to turn entire Lal Chowk into a tourist hub, like Dal lake and Nishat,” Khan said.
He said the Clock Tower is just one part of the project which also plans to give a facelift to entire Residency Road, Jehangir Chowk, Karan Nagar, and Batamaloo areas as part of the central business upgrade.
“We hope to complete the entire project in the next 40 to 45 days,” Khan added.