New Delhi, Feb 4 : Finally the wait is over for both book vendors as well as book lovers. Delhi's famous weekly market in old city Daryaganj opened after five weeks on Sunday -- albeit truncated to half its size.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) only gave permission to set up shops between Golcha cinema and Delight cinema.
The civic body did not allow any shops on the Daryaganj over-bridge due to which more than 50 people were not allowed to set up their makeshift shops.
The market, which earlier used to be more than 2-km long, on Sunday was functioning in around only a 1-km area.
Just like several other book vendors, Dhuv Narayan Gupta had also brought books to sell in the market, but returned disappointed.
Gupta, who has been setting up his shop in the market for the past 27 years, told IANS: "We were happy.
I brought books for sale. It has been five weeks of no business, I have a family to look after. I thought the struggle will come to an end, but we were not allowed to set up the shops."
The father of four said he even started working as a labourer at construction sites to make ends meet during the period when the market was closed for five Sundays in a row.
Every year, the civic body orders the closure of the makeshift market on the Sunday before Republic Day (Jan 26) and Independence Day (Aug 15) but this year it happened much earlier.
"I was a proud shopkeeper till a few weeks back, but now I am forced to do things for survival," Gupta said, adding two of his kids were in school.
"The school (authorities) will not understand that I am not getting the permission for my shop.
I want my children to study... I can't see that happening."
Gupta and another bookseller Manish Kapoor, like dozens of other vendors, used to set up their shops outside the Golcha-Delight stretch.
Kapoor, who is the sole earner of his five-member family, told IANS: "I did not set up the shop as I was scared that NDMC people will take my things with them.
I am not able to make any money and so I am not able to pay anything to my co-workers. We are not able to run our house. I am not able to pay my children's tuition fee."
But others who could return to their weekly business were elated.
"We are happy that after their (civic body) actions only booksellers were allowed in the market and no other clothes or shoe sellers were allowed.
However, many of us are sad as they were not allowed to set up the shops. We will go and meet the civic body people on Monday and will request them to consider our problem," Qamar Saeed, President, Daryaganj Patri Sunday Book Bazar Welfare Association, told IANS.
On their level, shopkeepers tried to help each other by reducing their shop sizes and also allowed other booksellers to sit nearby.
However, they feel the authorities can do this in a better manner.
"If they fix size for each shop, we all can fit in small spaces.
We only can request each other to help fellow booksellers, but authorities, by fixing the space, can do this in a better manner," Saeed said.
Although there was uncertainty over the market, the book lovers came in a good number looking for their favourite books.
"We did not expect this much as people were not sure about the market.
I hope next week more people will come as the news will reach them," Saeed said.
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