Vendors cry foul as two shops are razed to the ground

Demolition blues returned to haunt the vendors of Malleswaram New Vegetable, Fruit and Flower Market in Bangalore on Saturday as two shops at the entrance were razed in a sudden afternoon crackdown.

The owners said they had received a notice from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on February 27 asking them to vacate to make way for work taken up by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).

The BBMP had, last year, entered into an agreement with the BDA to reconstruct and develop the half-century old market. Subsequently, the BDA had arranged temporary spaces nearby for the vendors to shift their shops.

M. Shanmugam is still in state of shock as his main source of livelihood — fruit shop 1A at the Malleswaram market — no longer exists. He said he got only a day’s notice from the BBMP before the demolition. “We requested a day to shift our shop and goods, but they demolished it today,” said the distraught vendor, who lost Rs. 35,000 worth of fruits in the action.

Ditto was the plight of M. Thangavelu, who was in hospital at the time. “I have not received any notice; I only got a phone call yesterday when I was getting treated in the hospital,” he said, adding that he also lost his cash box in the melee.

Chandarshekhar G., who runs a puja accessories shop, said in the last meeting called by the BBMP on February 28, they were not informed about any demolition. He pointed out: “For 249 shops (the BBMP claims it is 150) the BDA has provided only 52 temporary shops.”

Speaking to The Hindu, G. Manjunath Raju, councillor of the Kadu Malleswaram ward under which the market falls, said temporary arrangements have been made for the vendors. “There are 150 shops overall, of which some 50 shops do active business. The BDA is rehabilitating these shopkeepers.”

Asked about the status of the organic waste converter and the toilets in the market, he said: “The converter is being shifted to the dry waste centre near the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall. As for the toilets, we have asked for the alternative facilities to be made usable before demolishing the old ones.”

However this has not been done as of Saturday, leaving the shopkeepers with no toilet facilities as of now.

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