With the freshest greens, vegetables and a variety of meat on sale, a number of people visit the Cox Town market. Not just residents, people from adjoining Banaswadi, Kalyan Nagar and surrounding areas too frequent the place.
From permanent shops, the traders have now been forced to conduct their business from small, temporary sheds, with their produce overflowing onto the footpath and road. The market was earlier in a building, just across the road from where the temporary sheds stand today. Around 11 years ago, the city corporation (now Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) demolished the market building since it was in a dilapidated condition. The traders have been forced to conduct their business from the temporary sheds since then.
Nayaz Ahmed, a vegetable vendor, told The Hindu that there were around 22 shops in the old market. “When it was brought down, the corporation promised us alternative arrangements. They set up these temporary sheds and said that within six months, new shops would be allotted to us. We have been waiting ever since,” he said.
Ashfaq, a fish vendor, rued that the corporation makes promises of alternative shops at regular intervals. “Even we are tired of listening to them. We were to be given shops on the ground floor of the new building that has come up where the market once stood. But that promise was not kept. The corporation officials later told us that they would build a new market down the road. Nothing has materialised yet,” he lamented.
With limited space, the traders claimed that they were finding it difficult to keep their stock and maintain cleanliness around the market area. Mohammed Fareed, who owns a chicken stall here, said that there was neither water nor drainage facility. “We are forced to buy water and have to spend around Rs. 3,000 a month on this. Also, since our shops are by the side of the road, there is a lot of dust. How can we maintain the space hygienically when this is the case?” he asked.
According to Subhash Balan, a resident of Kalyan Nagar, the corporation must keep its promise made to the traders and provide them permanent shops. “The traders here have been denied a proper vending space. If they are given space in a proper market, more business is likely to come their way,” he said.
Arun Sam, a resident of Cox Town, said that the market could be a lot cleaner. “The traders can only do so much in the limited space that they have. With the shops right by the road and on footpaths, many people park their vehicles right in front of the shops. This causes a bottleneck and hampers the smooth movement of vehicles,” he pointed out.
BBMP sources, who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, said that there was no proposal before the civic body to construct a new market for the traders. They conceded that when the market was demolished in early 2000, the traders were promised alternative shops. “There were various proposals that got stalled for some reason or the other. Due to red tape in the BBMP, the traders may have to do without a permanent market,” they added.