HYDERABAD: The bustling market of Sultan Bazaar wore a deserted look on Tuesday as the traders observed a business bandh demanding a change in the alignment of Metro Rail Corridor-II that is to pass through Sultan Bazaar and Badichowdi.
The bandh call was given by Sultan Bazaar Trading Association. The traders are demanding that the metro rail alignment be changed, saying that the proposed alignment will endanger several heritage buildings and the 150-year-old heritage market of Sultan Bazaar.
The proposed metro rail corridor from Kacheguda to Falaknuma is to pass through Badi Chowdi and Sultan Bazaar Market, which are heritage markets that are more than 150 years old. It will affect the livelihood of about 500 traders in the area, traders claimed and urged the government to look at alternative options like laying the corridor on the back of Koti Women’s College.
A few hundred traders, holding placards, gathered at Jain Temple in Sultan Bazaar and chanted slogans, ‘Metro Rail hatao, Sultan Bazaar bachao’, ‘Save heritage market’, ‘KCR zindabad and L&T murdabad’. We will take our fight to its logical conclusion, association general secretary Madhusudan Rao said.
“When chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had announced on the floor of the Assembly that the alignment would be changed to save the heritage market of Badi Chowdi and Sultan Bazaar from demolition, how can the government change its stance now? The chief minister should abide by what he had said on the floor of the House and change the metro rail alignment to protect the heritage market.
“We will not allow the metro rail project bulldoze our properties or businesses. We will oppose the project as it will affect many small traders. Most of traders who are going to lose their lands are senior citizens who will face many hardships if displaced,” association convener D Shankar said.
Before the formation of Telangana state, TRS leaders, including the chief minister had assured that their party would take up the cause of the businessmen and bring pressure on the state government to change the route. The TRS even announced that if it came to power, the metro route would be changed to save hundreds of small traders, he recalled.