BANGALORE: The Russell Market traders congregated together on Monday to show the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike the true meaning of courage and work.
The BBMP, which is synonymous with tardiness in finishing its development projects, has to sit and do a little soul searching. For, the traders of Russell Market, who were promised compensation and early renovation of the building following a fire accident, pooled in money and collected `60 lakh to start renovation work of the charred structure by themselves. They are employing the best engineers in the city to work for them.
When City Express visited the spot, the Association president and general secretary told the reporter, “Funds from the Government and the Corporation will reach the traders late. Hence, we pooled in the money to erect strong pillars. We are showing the BBMP how to work fast and stick to deadlines. All traders are engaged day in and day out in resurrecting the dilapidated structure. We want to finish work within two weeks and throw it open to the public.”
The Russell Market is the lifeline of Shivajinagar with the market complex housing more than 400 shops. The shops sell almost all varieties of vegetables, fruits and meat items and some even supply directly to the star hotels in the city. But a fire in the 85-year-old structure destroyed around 126 shops affecting the livlihood of thousands of people. “The fire may have destroyed our business, but not our hope. We have our womenfolk with us, who have pledged their jewels for this purpose. Many of our well wishers are willing give us some funds, but we declined. We want to be on our own. We have managed to collect `60 lakh so far and the entire project will cost us around `1.4 crore. We are determined to finish it in one week and throw the market complex open within another week’s time,” said traders’ association’s general secretary Mohammed Idris Choudry.The Traders have hired Karnataka Infrastructure Group (KKIG) PVT company, which executed some BIAL projects and they have been roped in to execute the project. “We have 72 pillars to bear and distribute the weight of the building. Aercon panels and fire-proof cement sheets have been put in the place to avert any fire tragedy in the future. We have a history of working on troubled projects. Working on this project is not new for us,” said Krishna Kuttappa, managing director of KKIG.
Congress corporator from D J Halli, R Sampath Raj, who was helping in the consultancy of the project and assisting the labourers on water connection pipes, said, “Congress corporators have decided to pool in one month’s salary to help them. On a personal note, I have not taken my salary from the BBMP for the last two years and would like to channelise that money towards this purpose of reconstructing this