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Traders say they know their onions

Staff Reporter
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They are getting the renovated market opened on Sunday

BATTLE LINES:Russell Market traders in Bangalore say they just want to get on with their business.— FILE PHOTO: V. SREENIVASA MURTHY
BATTLE LINES:Russell Market traders in Bangalore say they just want to get on with their business.— FILE PHOTO: V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

Upbeat that their market will finally be inaugurated on Sunday by Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, the traders of Russell Market are striving to make it a grand function. They are also unfazed by negative report on the market's structural stability by Civil Aid Techno Clinic Pvt. Ltd.

Naseer Ahmed, president, Russell Market Fruits and Vegetables Merchants' Association, told The Hindu that the association has taken pains to ensure that the heritage structure is preserved. Traders and coolies alike have been affected ever since fire partially destroyed the 85-year-old building on February 25.

Pooling in

“The association hired the services of K.K. Infrastructure to renovate the damaged portions of the market. We spent around Rs. 1.25 crore on this. Even the compensation that a few traders received was pooled into the common fund to renovate the market,” he said.

Pointing out that the financial status of quite a few traders was precarious, he said nearly 10,000 people are directly and indirectly dependent on the market.

“We don't depend on or expect anything from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). We only want to resume our business,” he said.

Power restored

Association general secretary Mohammed Idrees Choudhury said post-fire, several politicians promised support. “Yet, the association went from pillar to post trying to get electricity connection from Bangalore Electricity Supply Company. Finally on Saturday, the connection was restored after the entire wiring, panels and meters were changed,” he said.

Mr. Choudhury said the association was prepared to challenge the Civil Aid report. Engineers involved in the construction of the Bengaluru International Airport were entrusted with the renovation. “We will get a report on the structural stability from them. The market cannot be demolished so easily by the BBMP. We will fight against it,” he said.

‘Commendable work'

Meanwhile, the former Minister and MLC Mumtaz Ali Khan inspected the renovated portion on Monday. He said that it was commendable that the association had taken up the renovation without depending on either the Government or the BBMP. “The association has engaged the services of registered engineers, who have fortified the structure. They have set an example in doing so,” he said.

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