HYDERABAD: The 85-year-old Moazzam Jahi Market, the restoration work of which is nearly complete, is set to be transformed into a major cultural centre for theatre and music. The Telangana government plans to leverage Hyderabad’s recent inclusion into the Unesco’s Creative Cities Network list under the gastronomy category and transform the market into a cultural hub. “We intend to open the main part of the market shortly and will make it a venue for holding cultural programmes, such as theatre and Sufi concerts in the courtyard,” Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar told Express.
The triangular market was build between 1933-1935 by the then City Improvement Board to divert the crowd from Mehboob Chowk Bazar, Residency Bazar and Begum Bazar. The vision behind the Moazzam Jahi Market was to offer ‘universal stores’ like in the West where people can buy everything under one roof. However, over the years the structure, made of granite stone and lime plaster, deteriorated. The main circular courtyard, which houses several kirana shops, has been restored under the first phase of the work. ‘Ittar’ stores at the market’s exterior side facing the road, and grocery shops at its interior are fully functional.
At present, the restoration work is under way at the western wing, where the meat shops are located. Roof beams that have rusted over the years here are being replaced with new ones. A contractor at the site said lack of labour due to the lockdown affected the pace of the works. Arvind Kumar explained the challenges the department faced while restoring the market. “The damage over the years was extensive. The entire ceiling was leaking and was about to cave in. It was at Minister KT Rama Rao’s insistence that we took up the restoration. We replaced the rusted iron rods and re-laid the roof.
The original arches in the ceiling, which were completely damaged, were replaced with new ones. Third, there was no sewerage line, which was resulting in inundation every year. Both were laid afresh,” he said.
Apart from this, the stones, which gathered dust and over which several shops had painted, were brought back to its original colour, he said. He admitted that the department overshot the deadline for the restoration, but said quality work was being done. “Lime mortar was used instead of cement for re-laying the entire roof. Unlike cement, this takes time,” he said.