Unfazed by the controversy over the namaz bid, the sprawling Lulu mall in Lucknow, which was recently inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the presence of Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, has become a trap.
In the first 10 days after its inauguration, the mall welcomed more than one million visitors. The average attendance has been 1 lakh per day, which rises to 2.5 lakh on weekends.
A video of some people offering namaz inside the mall went viral on Twitter, raising eyebrows among right-wing groups who opposed it. The police filed a first information report (FIR). But visitors don’t care about the row. Rather, they are more interested in exploring the world-class mall that was brought to UP during the first Investor Summit in 2018 attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to reports, people from neighboring states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and parts of NCR come to visit the structure, which is spread over 2.2 million square feet. It can accommodate about 65,000 people at a time.
The Rs 2,000 crore project has generated 5,000 direct and 10,000 indirect job opportunities, according to Lulu Mall authorities. It is Lulu Group’s fifth mall in India, following its launches in Kochi, Thrissur, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram. Lulu Group Chairman and Managing Director MA Yusuff Ali has already announced a vast expansion plan in all major cities of India including Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi.
Not only commuters, e-rickshaws, taxi and automobile drivers also do good business on the road where Lulu Mall is located. Previously, there were not many public transport options on Shaheed Path, but dedicated bus services, car and bicycle taxi services have now started. “We used to have passengers on this route, but not many. It’s good for business,” said Akhil, a cycle taxi who had just ferried a passenger from Old Lucknow to Lulu Mall.
Speaking exclusively to News18, Jayakumar Gangadharan, Regional Manager, Lulu Mall, Lucknow said: “The response has been good. So far we get 1 lakh visitors per day. People who come here are happy, you can see smiles on their faces, whether they are children, teenagers or old people. Everyone is catered to their needs under one roof with world-class infrastructure and facilities. People are happy to click photos, take selfies with loved ones. Coming to Lulu is a world-class experience.
For the convenience of visitors, the mall has asked the State Department of Transportation to implement bus service on the route. Additionally, the mall access road on Shaheed Path near Ansal Golf City has been widened to handle the influx of vehicles. Similarly, a ramp was built near the underpass in front of the adjacent Medanta Hospital to facilitate traffic.
Dharmendra Singh, 29, a teacher from Basti, hired a bolero and came with his family of seven. “We came in the morning and we will come back in the evening. This place is a new experience for me and my family. We also did some shopping at the Lulu hypermarket. It’s a nice place and should be kept away from any form of controversy,” he said.
On the other hand, a sales manager of an international brand, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “There were some controversies and issues that were not justified, but people don’t mind. The business has been overwhelming and we expect sales to pick up,” he said.
THE YOGI PUSH
Gangadharan says that the realization of such a big project worth Rs 2,000 crore would not have been possible without the support and help of the Yogi government.
“We are really grateful to the Government of Uttar Pradesh for their overall support. UP CM has been very supportive on all fronts. We are happy to announce that soon our other outlets will open in Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Prayagraj People from neighboring districts and even neighboring states come to visit our mall, their response and smile are our reward,” he said.
The mall is also committed to supporting and promoting local artisans under the UP government’s ODOP program. “The One District One Product (ODOP) program products are also a huge hit because people love it. So far, we have shipped one container of ODOP products to our stores in Gulf countries. We gave a specific showcase for ODOP products to promote local artisans and their beautiful work,” said Gangadharan.
The mall will also have a blood donation camp as well as a health checkup camp for its visitors soon in partnership with SGPGI Lucknow. The mall will donate approximately 100 wheelchairs to SGPGI Lucknow.
THE STRONG POINTS
Located in the Shaheed Path area of the state capital, the mall has its own multi-level car park that can accommodate 3,000 vehicles. In this one-of-a-kind car park, priority has been given to the elderly, female and disabled. The mall also houses a fleet of golf carts to meet the needs of senior citizens.
Stores that draw the majority of the crowd are the Lulu Group’s flagship, Lulu Hypermarket, and the largest indoor family entertainment center, Funtura. Lulu Hypermarkets, Lulu Connect and Lulu Fashion Stores saw the maximum number of people availing of various offers and discounts. Funtura’s carousels, mini roller coasters, drop towers, fantasy games, VR-enabled adventure arena games, arcade video games, XD theaters, and more. were the first choice of children.
Japanese global lifestyle brand UNIQLO recently opened its flagship store in the mall.
Actor Kriti Kharbanda inaugurated the Lucknow UNIQLO store. Decathlon, a one-stop shop for sporting goods, fitness equipment and sporting goods, also launched its flagship store.
To cater to the diverse tastes of visitors, the mall has 15 gourmet restaurants and cafes, as well as a spacious food court with 25 branded outlets that can accommodate 1,600 people. It has a dedicated wedding shopping arena with some of Lucknow’s finest jewelry, fashion and high-end watch brands. An 11-screen Superplex PVR will be launched later this year. He would understand P[XL] and 4 DX screens, and high-end LUXE auditoriums.
Lulu Group also has plans for shopping malls in Varanasi and Prayagraj, which it presented at the groundbreaking ceremony held in Lucknow. Apart from the retail projects, the Abu Dhabi-headquartered conglomerate has also announced a food processing center being built in Greater Noida with an investment of around Rs 500 crore.
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