MYSURU: The 125-year-old Devaraja Market (popularly known as Dodda market) building at the north entrance gate collapsed on Sunday evening.
The north entrance gates towards Danavanthri road was closed for restoration for the last five months and the corporation had evicted shops from there. But two offices were still functioning from the two-storey building which was in a dilapidated state.
However, a major tragedy would have occurred had the heritage structure collapsed on the working day. Though, there were a few labourers working at the site, they escaped after hearing an unusual sound only to see a huge structure coming down in front of their eyes. The Mysuru City Corporation had taken up restoration works of the market under Chief Minister Nagarathonta programme and other funds from a Mumbai-based firm. Praveen, an eye witness, said engineer Ravikumar who had observed crack in the structure around 4 pm alerted them and sought their help to evict labourers, watchmen and the public thereby averting casualties. “It would have been a major tragedy as there are a couple of offices housed in the heritage structure,” said Devaraja, a eye witness.
Meanwhile, Devaraja Market Tenants Association president Mahadev said 90 per cent of the restoration works of Devaraja market have been completed.
He said the authorities must complete the remaining work as early as possible. He demanded that the tenants affected from the building collapse have to be compensated adding “more than 20,000 people are directly or indirectly depended on Devaraja market for their livelihood”.
The Devaraja market was built during Chamraja Wodeyar IX as a small weekly market. The structure with wooden roof truss with lime plaster was one of the prominent heritage sites on lines of Russel Market in Bengaluru. Devaraja market spread over three acres has more than 800 shops. The century-old-market is also a tourist attraction as many of the foreign nationals visit the place to take pictures of the market.
Recently, a fire mishap in one of the corners had caused losses running into lakhs of rupees to traders and tenants at Devaraja market.