After Lans'down'e, what next?

Lansdowne building may have been announced shut for a week from August 26, but for the traders a visit to the building is a must. With anxiety writ large on their faces, they are apprehensive about their future. What remains for them is, a glimpse in despair at their shops which was till the day of tragedy their source of livelihood.

Nanjundaiah is the proud occupant of shop number one in the building for the past 50 years. Named ‘Book Field’, the shop deals with second hand textbooks ranging from school to college level. It was his father N S Narayan Rao who launched the business.

Recalls Nanjundaiah the rent at that time was eleven annas and now it is Rs 150 per month. You may be surprised to know about the dimension of the shop- 9 ftx one feet. Forget sitting you can only stand straight inside, and shut shop during rains to avoid rain water.

Shivashankar of shop number four, has converted his ‘Harsha Pen Corner’ to a tea shop in the same name. In the year 1969, he was paying a rent of Rs six against Rs 350 in the present.

Nanjundaiah has a son who assists him in the shop, but in the case of Shivashankar he has three labourers,  whom he has to rely upon to keep the coffee brewing.  What has added to his worry is; will he be able to retain the labourers, if the situation remains the same.

“In the hotel industry, it’s difficult to find labourers who will stick to one place. They will switch shops for the lure of money, and it’s not their fault”, says Shivashankar.

He has a poser; the whole complex may spread around 1,000 square feet area. How will they be able to accommodate all- from vehicles with cellar parking and shops in the remaining floors.

For Krishna of Gowrishankar Press it was hard to express any feelings. “All he could do himself was huddle into a corner’.

If that was the woes of the tenants, the fate of people working there is no different. From a minimum of Rs 150 to a maximum of Rs 250, they were carrying home a decent sum per day. Wholly, the incident has affected the livelihood of both tenants and workers.

Strangely, it has affected the business of a sugarcane juice maker who was running the make-shift stall on a cart on the corner of the footpath opposite Lansdowne. “As people gather around the shop, I have been instructed to suspend business till anything fructifies”, said Manchegowda the juice maker.

Similar is the feelings of other shopkeepers, with 97 shops (according to MCC) in the complex. Following the incident, the site has turned into an object of curiosity, with passersby stopping by to have a glimpse at the very shop.

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