Srinagar’s Polo View becomes first pedestrian market under Smart City project

A mesmerizing night view of Polo View market, now the first pedestrian market in Srinagar.— Excelsior/Shakeel

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, May 11: The Polo View market in Srinagar’s uptown locality has been transformed into a premium pedestrian market as part of the Smart City initiative by Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL), with its opening anticipated soon.
Renowned for its wonderful handicrafts and handloom products, the local market has experienced a spectacular change that has charmed both tourists and locals alike. The revitalized aesthetic appeal has been welcomed with passionate adoration, as visitors can be noticed taking pictures and expressing their gratitude for the market’s magnificent transformation.
The shopkeepers are anxiously anticipating a major rise in business as a result of this stunning renovation. “We are delighted by the increasing influx of visitors to our destination, both tourists and locals alike. The administration has consistently participated, displaying their dedication. Previously, the area faced challenges with exposed wires and inadequate drainage, but significant improvements have been made. We are  hopeful that this upward trend will endure, delivering a considerable boost to our business,” Mushtaq Ahmad, a shopkeeper, told the Daily Excelsior.
According to Athar Aamir Khan, CEO of SSCL, all of the market’s electrical and communication wires have been laid underground, and the work on beautification is set to be finished. “This is part of the overall upgrading of the central business district, which also includes upgrading MA Road, Lal Chowk, and Raj Bagh riverfront, all of which are included in this project,” he said.
Khan further mentioned that a new road connecting MA Road and Residency Road has been developed to connect the rear of the market. “All the utilities have been underground, and there has been extensive stonework,” he added. He said that the market has been made universally accessible so that those with special needs can use it, and building facades have been renovated.
Spokesperson of Polo View Market Association Saqlain Qawoos said that although they were initially wary of the concept when it was first presented to them a year ago, they are now overjoyed with how it has turned out. “There are no electric poles here; wiring is now underground; lighting has been improved; and the conversion to a pedestrian market looks good and is appealing to people, especially kids,” he said, adding that the lack of parking space remains a challenge for the market.
The CEO Smart City said that the parking problem had already been resolved by building parking spaces along the MA Road stretch, which runs from Polo View Road’s backside to Sagarmal’s front entrance.  He said the surface parking of the smart city is a few meters ahead of it. “Our market association is now satisfied. In addition, we have also kept parking slots on both sides of MA Road and Residency Road,” he said.