Market makeover

Market makeover

Market makeover

A landmark structure in the city, Russell Market will soon be given a makeover of sorts with the BBMP and Russell Market Traders' Association proposing to install cameras, streetlights and have round-the-clock security guards. While the traders say that it has been long overdue, customers feel that it will make the market a cleaner and safer place.

The proposal to beautify Russell Market has been in the pipeline for a while now but little has been done to translate it into reality. Heaps of garbage, stagnant water and uneven walkways are a common sight in and around the market.

Shakeel Ahmed, chairman of the BBMP standing committee on town planning, points out that garbage is being dumped in the rear end of the market. "The backyard of the market has turned into a dumping ground. Waste from markets in the surrounding areas such as Vasanthnagar, Fraser Town and Johnson Market are being dumped here. A few hotels from Brigade Road also throw their waste here. Our latest initiative is not only to beautify the market but also to prevent further dumping of waste here," says Shakeel.

He informs that 15 cameras and 15 to 20 LED lights will be installed in and around the market. "We will also depute eight security guards who will prevent people from dumping garbage and ensure that the premises is clean and safe. We have also proposed to erect a gate around the market to prevent strangers from entering. All the 487 shopkeepers in the market will be given a spare key and only the owners will be allowed to use it," informs Shakeel. He adds that this project is estimated to cost anything between
Rs 40 and 60 lakh. He also says that if this project is successful then it will be replicated in other markets across the city.

Regulars to Russell Market have welcomed the initiative. Deepali M K, a swimming coach, dreads taking her children to the market because of the unbearable stench. "The idea to install cameras and LED lights is great because this will ensure that the place is well lit and safe. The cameras will also instil a sense of security in shoppers," says Deepali. She also thinks good lighting inside the market will help old people move around the place better.

Markets are an important part of one's daily life, feels Usha Ranganath, a homemaker. She says that she has always shopped only in markets. "There's a sense of contentment in buying fruits and vegetables from markets and that's precisely why these spaces must be rendered clean. Online shopping for fruits and vegetables may have become a fad among youngsters but I can never relate to it. I still want to visit a market, walk around and make my purchase," says Usha. She feels better facilities and clean surroundings will encourage more people to come to the markets.

Traders say that they can't wait to see the market being given a makeover. Salauddin Pasha, a fruit vendor who has been in Russell Market for the last 25 years, says "The stagnant water, garbage and stench has affected our business. The regulars haven't stopped coming but the new customers will certainly think twice before coming here till the premises is cleaned. The number of tourists have also reduced," says Salauddin.