Traders in Sri Krishna Rajendra or K.R. Market as it’s popularly called and Kalasipalya market are up in arms against the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which announced on Friday that they will remain closed till the end of August. Both markets have been sealed since March 24, barring a 12-day period in June where traders were allowed to operate before they were asked to shut shop again.
Shop owners were getting ready to open for business as the BBMP, in an earlier order, had announced that the markets seal would be in effect till July 31. In a tweet, city Mayor M. Goutham Kumar said the move was taken in the interest of public health.
Traders remain unconvinced and accuse the civic body of duplicity as most parts of the central business district, especially Chickpete, S.P. Road, Avenue Road, have been allowed to open for business.
R.V. Gopi, president of the Kalasipalya Vegetable Wholesale Market, said they had submitted a memorandum to both the mayor and BBMP commissioner, urging them to allow the wholesale market to function at night. “We have been allotted some space in Singena Agrahara but it has only temporary sheds and lacks basic amenities,” he said.
Traders of K.R. Market too are upset with the move. G.M. Divakar, president of the KR Market Flower Merchants’ Association, told The Hindu that with the extension of the closure, they have been denied the opportunity to recover some of their losses during the festival season.
“We had hoped the BBMP would allow us to open the market for Varamahalakshmi. Now, we can’t operate business till the end of August. As per the Hindu calendar, September is an inauspicious month,” he said.
Both Mr. Gopi and Mr. Divakar said the move would greatly affect the livelihood of small traders. “Under Unlock 2.0, restrictions on several economic activities have been lifted. Why are only our markets being targeted?” they said, and argued for allowing the markets to function.
“We are ready to follow all the standard operating procedures (SOP) and other guidelines. There is no logic in allowing business in all areas around the markets and keeping the two main markets closed,” said Mr. Gopi.