|P&M Mall in Patna wears a deserted look on Sunday. Picture by Ashok Sinha
Weekend hotspots such as P&M Mall or Rajdhani Vatika in the state capital wore a deserted look on Sunday like never before, thanks to the JD(U)’s Adhikar Rally.
Authorities of the P&M Mall had announced closure of the facility on Saturday, though they did not cite the show of strength by the ruling party as the reason.
A notice pasted on the entrance gates of the P&M Mall read: “The mall will remain closed on November 4 for annual maintenance work.”
Those caught unawares after managing to reach the facility despite the rally were left disappointed.
“Sunday is the only day when I get an off from work. I wanted to watch Skyfall, the James Bond movie, at Cinepolis. But I was annoyed to find the mall closed,” said Ravi Kumar, a resident of SK Nagar.
Though the mall was closed, a few salespersons of a popular pizza chain were spotted taking orders from people at the entrance of the shopping centre and delivering parcels on the road itself.
The scene at Rajdhani Vatika, popularly known as Eco Park, was the same.
Though a few young couples were seen inside the park, there was hardly anyone around the swings and other amusement facilities meant for children.
Buddha Smriti Park, which has of late become a popular hangout destination for youngsters, also wore a deserted look.
“Despite the morning being pleasant, very few visitors visited Buddha Smriti Park. The low footfall was a result of barricading of Station Road and Dakbungalow Road. Not a single vehicle could come anywhere near the park. Besides, autorickshaws and buses did not operate. There was virtually no option for people to reach the park,” said a security guard manning a gate of the park.
The footfall at Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, popularly known as Patna zoo, was low during the first half of the day.
The condition slightly improved after 2pm once the rally got over.
However, most of the visitors at the zoo were participants of the rally.
Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Rohtas, said: “When I decided to come to Patna for the rally, I had decided to visit the popular tourist spots in the city. The zoo was also on my agenda. It was because of the rally that I could visit the zoo for the first time.”
The rally also spoiled people’s plans to dine out.
“We usually record good footfalls on Sundays. But the Adhikar Rally had an adverse effect on our business. Though the number of customers for lunch was satisfactory, the footfall was very low in the evening,” said Ajeet Singh, the general manager of Moti Mahal Delux on Kurji Road.
Around 300 shops at Maurya Lok Complex — one of the biggest commercial hubs in the state capital — also remained closed because of the Adhikar Rally. Rajesh Kumar ‘Dablu’, the president of Maurya Lok Shopkeepers’ Association, said: “At a meeting held on Saturday, all members of our association agreed to keep their shutters down. They took the decision in support of special status for the state.”
Around 10 per cent of the shops, mostly eateries, at Maurya Lok Complex, however, opened in the evening.