Stage set for first Sunday Funday at Charminar today

Hours to go for the ‘Sunday Funday’ event in the Charminar precinct, there is a tizzy of activity amid heavy rain. A dog-catching squad of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation swings into action, catching two strays hiding near the Traffic Police Station.

Another set of workers uses cutting tools to bring down a CCTV camera pole with a tangled set of cables. But the word on the street is that of confusion. “I think they will divert the traffic from Medina Junction. Nobody spoke with us. We are getting information from other shopkeepers,” says a restaurant owner about Sunday’s event. But closer to the city’s iconic monument, hawkers and kiosk owners have been told to shut shop by 4 p.m. “It won’t affect our business as it is likely to be a once-a-month event,” said Afzal, who sells artificial jewellery in the area.

Though Charminar has been a pedestrian zone for the past two years, it has been overrun by hawkers and hustlers who number hundreds in the 800-metre radius of the monument and sell everything from surgical masks to pani-puri to sunglasses.

The event at Charminar will replicate the successful pedestrian-only zone for five hours on Sunday evening at the Tank Bund promenade. Among the events listed by Municipal Administration Special Chief Secretary Arvind Kumar are Deccani Mazahiya Mushaira, police band until midnight and food stalls, distribution of free saplings and child-friendly activities.

Gentrification concern

While Tank Bund is one of the arterial roads for Hyderabad, the Charminar area is one of the most densely populated areas with thousands of families residing in the area. It is also one of the busiest business areas with the stretch from Medina to Pathergatti being popular for wedding shopping among other things. This has led to misgivings among the business owners about gentrification of the area.

“The people who will come on vehicles will not be interested in shopping here. They will come to have fun. We will have to say goodbye to business for the day,” said Shaik Rasool, who has been hawking clothes in the area for the past 30 years. “We don’t have a union. The number of hawkers has increased after buses stopping plying on the road,” says Mr. Rasool who remembers giving 25 paise for the union then led by Nayani Narasimha Reddy.

‘Adequate parking’

“We have created adequate parking at 11 spots to ensure the event passes off smoothly,” informed Srinivasa Rao of Hyderabad Traffic Police at Charminar.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 9:04:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/stage-set-for-first-sunday-funday-at-charminar-today/article37032123.ece

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