Lights fade for shop owners at Shivajinagar's evening bazaar

Problem compounded

A drainage widening and deepening project of the BBMP has left shopkeepers of what once was called the ‘Old Evening Market’ or the ‘Evening Bazaar’ in Shivajinagar in dire straits.

Located right in the midst of the daily hustle and bustle of OPH Road or the Jumma Masjid Road and a part of the Bharati Nagar ward, the market is the property of the BBMP and had been leased out for many years to shopkeepers.

The area regularly faces waterlogging and flooding during monsoon.

“There were 67 shops dealing with plumbing and iron works, while 70 shops sold vegetables,” said Amanullah Khan, a representative of the shops.

According to Zabiullah, whose shop comes in the path of the project, “About six months ago, local corporator Shakeel Ahmed and MLA Roshan Baig came to the area and persuaded us to give up our shops. They said we would get out our shops back after the completion of the project before the monsoon.”

However, the rains are already here and the place lies in ruins. The Palike has barely managed to demolish the shops and dig the road.

The private shops located on the side of the project also have to bear its brunt.
“When it rains the entire drain swells up and the water enters our shops. Needless to say business is at a low. When will this project be completed?” questions an agitated Sajjadullah Khan, who owns a plumbing shop.

While the corporator claims that he has repeatedly asked the BBMP to complete the project, he blames a group of shops belonging to cloth merchants for delaying the project.

Apparently, their shops also come under the drainage widening project, but the owners have managed to postpone giving up their shops.

Moreover, while the corporator maintains that alternative arrangements were made for shops that were demolished, Parvez Khan, representative of the vegetable sellers, says: “The place was not suitable for setting up our vegetables shops.”

Many like Zabiullah are working as dailywage labourers to sustain themselves and are now left with nothing else to do.

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