For perhaps the first time in its 90-year history, K.R. Market was deserted on Tuesday morning. The morning melee of flower vendors and farmers, haggling and selling their wares, was missing; replaced instead by shuttered shops and empty roads.
The one-day bandh, called by traders and farmers after the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike failed to demolish illegal shops, saw the closure of more than 1,300 shops in the busy market. “Over 5,000 people gave up their daily livelihood for the protest. The loss incurred was over Rs. 30 lakh for the day,” said G.M. Divakar, President, K.R. Market Traders' Welfare Association.
The genesis is the scheduled midnight demolition by BBMP of 18 shops that occupied ventilation spaces, fire exits and dump yards inside the market complex. The shopkeepers who would be affected and their employees had staged a protest, with one even threatening to immolate himself. The drama saw the BBMP withdrawing, and traders said barely one shop was razed.
More than 10,000 farmers, who frequent the market, had taken part in the bandh, said Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, State president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.