They have renovated it despite the BBMP issuing a legal notice

Two months after a fire partially gutted several shops, the renovated Russell Market will be inaugurated here on Monday. Despite several hurdles, the traders' efforts in renovating the market seem to have now paid off.

Mohammed Idrees Choudhury, general secretary of the Russell Market Vegetables and Fruits' Merchants Association, said dry fruits and fruits, some imported, would be given free to visitors during the opening.

On February 25, 170 shops were gutted. The incident highlighted the lack of any fire fighting equipment and poor maintenance of the market. Following the fire, several politicians, including Union Ministers, visited the market and assured the traders of help.

The compensation that the traders received was pooled to take up the renovation of the market. The renovation work was entrusted to K.K. Infrastructure, even as the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) issued legal notice to the traders and a public notice asking the association not to take up renovation.

The BBMP maintained that the association had taken up the renovation without consulting the civic body. The stability report sought by the BBMP later revealed that the building had lost strength. The consultant, Civil Aid, which submitted the stability report, recommended that the market be brought down and reconstructed.

BBMP Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda reiterated the civic body's stand of reconstructing the market, retaining the façade of the building. He said that the market proposed to be reconstructed by the BBMP would have better amenities, including an underground parking facility. The traders, who opposed the BBMP's proposal after they had renovated the market by pooling their own funds, approached Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and urged him to intervene.

The Chief Minister has reportedly assured the traders of looking into the issue. He has also promised the traders of holding a meeting with them, Mr. Shankarlinge Gowda and other officials concerned after a month.

Even though Mr. Sadananda Gowda has not officially confirmed his participation in the re-opening of the market, Mr. Idrees said that the Chief Minister would participate in it.

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