Lucknow's Hazratganj gets a makeover

It all started with a realisation that this heritage market would soon complete 200 years of existence. Within days, Hazratganj came under everyone’s sharp fo cus — from local shopkeepers to civic authorities and from Ganjing addicts to Lucknow lovers across the seven seas. A market, which till a few months back faced all sorts of civic problems, was suddenly on everyone’ agenda. But no one really spoke about it Even though the demand for its betterment had been very much there for the past six years. And then, one day in July last year, chief minister Mayawati directed authorities to beautify Hazratganj. The ball was set rolling. It was not an easy task at all. Yes, there were some delays. Deadlines were over shot. But at the end of the day, the project did get completed more or less within the stipulated time frame set by the CM. “Had that been a vacant land, it would have been far easy. But it was a heritage market with all sorts of complex problems,” said a senior Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) official, closely associated with the project. What followed was a rare co-ordination between various civic authorities like LDA and Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) that actually did the turnaround. The makeover is now complete — for everyone to see. Many would say that ‘Ganjing’ is back. “This Ganj is for everyone. There has to be a sense of ownership,” said architect Ashish Srivastava, who canvassed the concept of ‘Hazratganj revitalisation’ for the civic authorities. In fact, the heritage market, which once looked as dilapidated as any other locality in the walled city area from the terrace of Srivastava’s office, now stands trans formed. “It was a completely different kind of task. We did it successfully,” said LDA executive engineer O P Mishra. Gone are the conventional streetlights many of which did not function. They have been replaced with cast-iron Victorian lampposts, five metres tall. Installed on the footpaths on either side of the main road, the lampposts have been put up at a distance of every 10 metres. Earlier, a smaller version of a Victorianstyled lamp posts was also planned. But, the plan was put off. The wide footpaths are also now a reality. The executing agency, Lucknow Development Authority (LDA), was not sure of getting enough uniformity through the stretch. However, the footpaths now have a width ranging between five and seven feet, said an LDA engineer. LDA officials said that they had to negotiate with traders on a day-to-day basis to get through the obstacles. The relatively broader and spacious footpaths not only have come to allow a smooth pedestrian movement but also have designer roundabout benches at certain points. The traffic movement also improves, as all vehicles now get parked in the multi-level parking lot. “Now it’s a moving traffic,” said another LDA official. All other parking lots have been done away with. A green patch with benches, where one can sip coffee has replaced them. Throughout the stretch from Hindi Sansthan to the main Hazratganj crossing, there are now only four cuts — one each for Janpath Market, Shahnajaf Road crossing, Lalbagh crossing and Maqbara. While the cuts to Shahnajaf and Lalbagh are prominent (at least eight to 10 feet wide), the ones at Janpath and Maqbara are comparatively narrow — around three feet. In a way, the entire market has now been turned into a noparking zone. “The entire makeover is surely going to increase visitors’ footfall. In fact, it has already started,” said K C Bhambawani, president, Hazratganj Traders Association (HTA).

Hazratganj’s main street has uniform 18-metre width

The footpath is five to seven feet wide

Victorian Lampposts measuring 5 metres installed on the footpaths on either side of the main road.

Roundabout benches placed at six spots in the market

Two green patches : one near DRM office and the other near the multi-level parking lot

A storm water drainage system to prevent waterlogging in Hazratganj

The market is a no-hoarding zone

All signages have a uniform colour : White written on a black background

Shops and buildings too painted in a uniform colour : cream and pink

Market has a moving traffic altogether

All existing parking lots done away with

Vehicles are being parked at multi-level parking lot with a capacity of nearly 1,000 vehicles

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