Traders of Russell Market are upbeat about throwing open the renovated market. Unmindful of the evacuation notice issued by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), they are continuing with the renovation work. The market is likely to be reopened on Friday.
Naseer Ahmed, president of the Russell Market Fruits and Vegetables Merchants' Association, said that the market has been closed for nearly a month now. The traders, who had lost their shops in the fire, continued to suffer without any business. “This is the reason why we are working hard to ensure that the market is reopened soon,” he said.
Renovation was taken up more than a fortnight ago by the traders themselves. Yet, the evacuation notice was issued much later and the public notice was issued on March 14.
“The office of the BBMP's Assistant Revenue Officer is on the first floor of the market. Senior BBMP officials used to visit the market almost every day. They could have issued the notice much earlier, instead of issuing it when the renovation work is almost complete,” averred Mohammed Idrees Choudhury, general secretary of the association.
He said that the traders had all pooled in their money, including the compensation that they had received from the BBMP.
“We are not expecting anything from the BBMP towards the renovation of the market. We took it upon ourselves as we would have had to wait for a long time had the BBMP taken it up. This is a question of our livelihood and want to reopen the market as soon as possible,” he added.
BBMP officials, on the other hand, are firm on their stand.
“We cannot be held responsible in case of any eventuality in the market. We still need to ascertain if the building is stable,” he said.
About the delay in issuing the notice, the official admitted that there was a delay. He said that the BBMP had to first release compensation before issuing the evacuation notice.
He said that the ownership of a few shops had changed and the traders may have wanted to keep that under wraps. “This may be why some traders refused to take the notice, following which we had to issue a public notice,” he said.
With the impasse between the traders and BBMP, it remains to be seen if the market will be reopened on Friday.