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Rediscovering Paltan Bazaar

Why things in Dehra Dun’s very own market need to change and change now!

Dr Nitin Pandey

25-Nov-2012

“When winds of change blow, some make high walls, others make windmills” goes an old Chinese saying. Nothing can better describe the situation Dehra Dun finds itself in today; it stands on the threshold of metamorphosing from a small town to an orderly city, changes recently implemented by the police have shown remarkable results, a little more can make life better for lakhs of Doonites but if we start building walls, it will be an opportunity lost forever.

Paltan Bazaar
Paltan Bazaar without the vehicles is a walker's delight

Possibly the biggest dramatic change is being brought about in Paltan Bazaar. It is on the verge of being transformed from being a dusty overcrowded bazaar where people, cars, motorcycles and handcarts vie to get over top of one another to a world class walking plaza; the choice is obvious yet, it seems, traders in the area are busy building walls.

Their biggest fear is the loss of business if the customer cannot drive upto the shop. Since Dehra Dun is changing, habits of it’s residents must change. From the small town convenience of driving right upto the doors of a shop, we must learn to park and walk; if not entirely walk to the shop leaving our vehicles at home. Just as, a couple of years ago, no one could imagine people obeying traffic lights in Doon (by and large) similarly today most of us balk at the idea of parking our vehicles and walking to a shop; but even this habit will change in a couple of years, if the administration manages to sustain its current drive. Therefore this fear of traders of business loss on account of this is ill-founded. While a short term dip is inevitable yet in the medium term things should be much brighter.

Now imagine a new Paltan Bazaar – a world class pedestrian plaza. The current parking, near Clock Tower, is converted into a grass park with sitting benches, something like the top of Palika Bazaar in Delhi. There is no need for a parking as there is more than adequate parking in the MDDA parking just across the road. The main Paltan Bazaar road has beautiful street lamps on both sides with sitting benches in the middle of the road facing both sides (and the word “benches” does not refer to dirty concrete slabs put up by the MDDA in front of GPO ), underground electric supply lines and few roadside cafes. In between the benches are flowers and beautiful decorative trees. The Chat wali gali is clean, bright and its open drain covered allowing more and more Doonites access to this historical place. The opening of this gali onto the Lunia Moholla road is blocked permanently allowing only pedestrians in. Ghosi Gali is one of the historic icons of this city and must be included in the revamp. So we have clean, paved Ghosi Gali, obviously with no open drains and with chic shops. The magic of bakeries, now forgotten by most of us, would once again be revived. Eateries could be allowed to put up small tables in the lane for customers. This also entails permanently blocking its openings other than into Paltan Bazaar, allowing only pedestrians in. All those who need to bring vehicles in, do so either before 10 am or after 9.00 pm through the main entry point opposite Clock Tower.

Would not such a Paltan Bazaar give all the chic Malls of Dehra Dun a run for their money? Would not the sales of the shopkeepers in the area actually increase, once the high spending customers come in? Paltan Bazaar belongs to all Doonites as much as it belongs to the traders and it is everyone’s right to have beautiful walking plaza instead of a bone crushing melee, which Paltan Bazaar currently is. Accidents and eve teasing, common now due to the melee would be a thing of the past. The Paltan Bazaar traders association must seriously ponder over this option and take matters into their own hands, instead of protesting and lamenting the short term loss of business. It would be wonderful if the Association were to step up and put up their own security guard and a gate at the main entrance of Paltan Bazaar instead of leaving it to the police.

What is disheartening is the absolute lack of enthusiasm shown to the efforts to change Dehra Dun by the Dehra Dun Nagar Nigam and the Mayor, both have for reasons best known to them, maintained a distance from the current drive. While Congress Parshads met the SSP of Dehra Dun to lend their support, the BJP members were looking the other way. Do steps to improve the quality of life of Doonites have to have a political angle? Whatever politicians or traders may say, the “aam admi” of Doon deserves a better deal. Why should an average Doonite be forced to shop in fancy malls when our own Paltan Bazaar can live up to their expectations and requirements? The time to change is now, tomorrow may be too late.



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Date14-Oct-15
From: I want to send you an award for most helpful inreentt writer.
I want to send you an award for most helpful inreentt writer.


Date27-Nov-12
From: H.S.Deo
If Dehradun is to become modern then so must Paltan Bazzar. All the shops in the area from Saharanpur Road to Chakrata Road must be demolished. They must be accomodated in high rise shopping centers just like the one behind New Market, with basement parking and lifts. A wide road from the railway station to Mussoorie should be constructed.


Date27-Nov-12
From: H.S.Deo
If Dehradun is to become modern then so must Paltan Bazzar. All the shops in the area from Saharanpur Road to Chakrata Road must be demolished. They must be accomodated in high rise shopping centers just like the one behind New Market, with basement parking and lifts. A wide road from the railway station to Mussoorie should be constructed.




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