'Forced' undertaking worries Russell Market traders

Businessmen say they were asked to sign document if they want power, water connections

The traders at the fire-ravaged Russell Market are a worried lot as the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has obtained an undertaking from them to vacate the premises, without opposition, in case it decides to demolish and reconstruct the market.

The measure comes in the wake of the traders seeking electricity connection to their shops.

At a meeting with the Traders’ Association last week, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had said that there were no plans of reconstructing the market and that the structure would be retained as a monument.

According to the undertaking signed by the traders, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, they have agreed to vacate the shops without resistance if the Palike decides to reconstruct it.

What document says “The market was gutted on February 25, 2012. We have reconstructed a few parts of the market with our money and have started the business again. Whenever the BBMP decides to reconstruct the market, I am willing to vacate my shop. I shall not interfere in the Palike’s work,” states the undertaking.

The document further states that the Palike will not be responsible for any untoward incidents or accidents that may take place at the renovated shops at Russell Market. Also, they may not claim any compensation for the damages.

Each trader has given an undertaking stating, “I unconditionally accept all the conditions laid down by the BBMP. I hereby request you to provide water and electricity connections to my shop.”

A section of traders informed this newspaper that a few politicians forced them to give the undertaking.

Politicians’ role alleged

Mohammed Idrees Choudhury, General Secretary, Russell Market Traders’ Association, said that a few elected representatives urged the traders at the market to sign the undertaking if they wanted electricity.

Commissioner denies

However, Palike Commissioner Rajneesh Goel denied having initiated any such measure. He said the traders have been asked to submit a memorandum seeking electricity.

“As soon as I receive the memorandum I will make arrangements for power connections. Till now, I have not received the memorandum,” Goel said.

The chief minister had directed the Palike commissioner to explore the possibility of providing power supply to the market.

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