Leading to a shutdown of all tourism and leisure related activities in the city, the Delhi government on Friday ordered the shutting of all three Dilli Haats in the city, and also suspended the HoHo (hop on, hop off) bus service till March 31. The Delhi government’s Tourism Department — which runs the Dilli Haats across the Capital – cancelled all cultural programmes at these venues till further notice.
Sanjay Goel, Managing Director & CEO, Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), told the Express, “We have shut Dilli Haat (INA, Pitampura and Janakpuri) and suspended all cultural activities till further notice.” Besides, Goel said, the DTTDC has also closed both the coffee homes at Connaught Place and Laxmi Nagar, and all food courts and food stalls in Dilli Haats and the Garden of Five Senses, Saket.
Ever since some cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the Capital, the Dilli Haat at INA — which on an average clock in 3,000 visitors a day as per DTTDC figures — wore a deserted look. On Friday, the last day it functioned before being temporarily shut, only two ticket counters out of five were operational. Inside, there was an eerie calm – with no shoppers or patrons at its thriving eateries.
The vendors from all over the country had set up shops like usual but are getting no visitors. Ram Chand from Odisha, who is selling Sambalpuri ikat fabric, said, “Around 25 vendors were invited by the government from different states between March 16 and 31. We haven’t got any visitors or made any sales yet.” Most of them were talking about requesting the management to extend their term by another fortnight so that they can clock some sales before returning to their respective places.
Even as the temporary vendors are government invitees and don’t have to shell out any rent, there are permanent traders having shops inside Dilli Haat, who pay to the tune of Rs 25,000 for 15 days. They also seemed quite dejected. Says Hukam Chand, who sells trinkets and imitation jewellery, “The management should waive off our rent since we are not able to make any profits.”
Here’s a quick coronavirus guide for you to stay updated: Who all should be tested for Covid-19 and when? | How should you quarantine yourself? | How often (and how) should you clean your home? | What is the Janata Curfew announced by PM Modi? | Who are restricted from coming to India, and from when? | How long can the virus live on surfaces or in air around you? | Still more Coronavirus Q&A Explained news here
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines