Little India Harris Park Business Association launched

By Neena Badhwar

July 4, 2019. Little India Harris Park Association Inc. (LIHPBA) was launched today at Taj Bhavan at 73 Wigram Street, Harris Park as the businesses, shops went about their usual business attending to customers, patrons who come looking for food, Indian fashion, groceries, Indian sweets, immigration agents, accountants and many other diverse services. You name it and Harris Park has it. It has become the ”˜Little India’ of Sydney where Indians and people otherwise all visit to experience India in Sydney. Many Indian people refer to Harris Park as ”˜Harish Park’ while the Wigram Street is referred to as the ”˜Vikram Street’ which attracts a huge crowd from all over Sydney almost everyday with some places having become the meeting point for families and friends.

LIHPBA represents over 75 Businesses that have joined to form this strong umbrella with the motive to leave a strong Indian footprint and a presence in the heart of Parramatta city. In the presence of dignitaries Dr Geoff Lee, Member for Parramatta who has been personally working to get this business community together since 2012, according to one of the founder member of LIHPBA. Beside Dr. Lee, other dignitaries present were, Lord Mayor of Parramatta Andrew Wilson, Vice Consul Mr Saxena representing Consul General of India, Mr Manish Gupta, Dr Hari Harinath, Chairman Multicultural NSW and the newly elected NSW Opposition Leader, Ms. Jodi Mackay. Also present were Councillor Moninder Singh and Parramatta Councillor Samir Pandey, UIA President Sreeni Pillamarri and Dr. Nihal Agar of Hindu Council of Australia. Members of the community and local Indian media as well as community leaders came to witness this important launch.

Subba Rao Varigonda, Chairman LIHPBA and President, ISC, said to the guests about LIHPBA, “They are a diverse group of businesses serving the community. In essence they are the voice of the Harris Park community who want to make a vibrant business community,” he requested the Lord Mayor, “Sir, we ask Parramatta Council to promote Harris Park as the ”˜Little India’ of Sydney ”“ a destination for the tourists for Indian food, Indian crafts and artefacts. Also take a look at the parking problems and help in expanding the businesses to footpath like the ones in Lakemba. Also, Sir, look into our festivals such as Diwali and Dussehra.”

“Above all we need support of the community and today we have three associations working and coming together synergistically to support and be part of LIHPBA ”“ which are United Indian Association, Umbrella organisation with its 30 Indian associations and Indian Support Centre (ISC) as a support organisation, which helps in Domestic Violence, Visa issues and India Seniors.”

“We want to move on to the plan for 2019 Diwali when the businesses will light up to celebrate Diwali and we expect the Council that the streets be lit up as well as the Harris Park Station. We would award the best lit up business house during Diwali. We want to work closely with the Council to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary and work very closely with the Council in early October when LIHPBA will come on board helping in every way through food stalls, blood donation drive and music and entertainment. We want to thus bring record crowds and business to our area. Funds raised thus can go into developing the area further.”

Dr. Geoff Lee, said, “We want more people to come and make more money. Tonight is a fantastic example of coming together and supporting a wonderful cause,” he pointed to the ”˜elephant in the room’, “I will do everything I can to work with people like Dr. Hari Harinath. Parramatta is a growing and a great city. I say ”˜Support those that support you’. We can help support in many things but not the parking spots, it will be difficult. We suggest that either you park the car a bit further on or take a train but come to Parramatta and support the businesses here. Diwali is a time when you close off the street and 15-16,000 people come visiting Harris Park.”

Jodi Mckay, said that the LIHPBA launch was her first official event that she attended as the Leader of the NSW Opposition, “Harris Park is an important part of Australian Indian community. Not just the important part of Parramatta but an important part of Sydney. Harris Park is not just the mecca for food, it’s a beautiful place when you come down that street, and turn the corner, it is these wonderful historic homes lit with sparkling lights, it is as if you have entered into a whole new world. Indian businesses coming together as a chamber, you have already established a camaraderie, already established a vision, that which means a different level of responsibility. And I always wear a sari at the time of Diwali festival, I absolutely love coming here.”

Dr. Harinath said about Harris Park business community that not only is it growing but its captivating, a street that we should all be proud of.

Vice Consul Saxena represented Indian Consul General Manish Gupta who could not come and said that the Consulate will always be there to help if needed. The program was conducted by the capable and pretty Simmi Wadhwa who runs Foreal Property and Sanjay Deshwal who along with Nitin Setia, Gurmeet Tuli and Rakesh Major have been working hard towards uniting the business community of Harris Park.

Everyone agreed, even the Mayor Andrew Wilson to all what was said at the launch of LIHPBA that Harris Park is indisputably the ‘Little India’ of Sydney. That it will work for a collective vision for it to grow now that the businesses here have joined hands along with UIA and Indian Support Centre.

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