Bengaluru: Russell Market in Shivajinagar, one of the oldest markets and structures in Bengaluru, has had its share of problems such as fire hazards, cracks in the building and so on. Now, there is another one: animal waste.
Shop owners claim there are losing precious business due to indiscriminate dumping of animal waste by meat stall owners and the BBMP's ill-suited garbage collection policy.
"It stinks like some beast has died," says Javed Sait, who owns a horticulture equipment shop in the market. "I wear a mask to keep the smell at bay. Who would like to buy items from this stinking place?"
According to shop owner Loknath, they have been losing customers due to the smell. "This garbage collection point is really bad," he says. "The meat shop owners dump the animal waste here and it stinks as if some animal is dead. The BBMP has also failed in its waste management as there is no designated place for meat shops to dump the waste. All the BBMP does is to collect the garbage, but most of the times the garbage lies in the same place for two days." Loknath feels the BBMP should work to keep the place since they pay rent.
Javed says they shut down by 3pm as the smell becomes unbearable. "Due to a huge loss in income, we are able to pay only our rent," says Javed.
Loknath feels the BBMP should collect garbage twice a day instead of once a day. "Every day, they [BBMP] come around 12 pm to collect the garbage. After that, shops dump the garbage in the same place, especially tonnes of animal waste. All the shop keepers here keep their nose covered with mask and light at least two boxes of incense sticks," says Loknath.
When contacted, Yatish Kumar, Joint Commissioner, BBMP, Health, (east) was not available for comment.
Market older than thought
Russell Market was constructed in 1927 and is considered as one of the oldest structures in the City. Named after the then Municipal Commissioner, T B Russell, recent findings by city-based architect Manzoor Khan, who is also passionate about historical and heritage sites, push back the history of the structure by another 70 years.
Khan stumbled upon paintings of the building dating back to 1850 and photographs taken between 1870 and 1880s. The same was confirmed by the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) and other city based historians.
Shivajinagar was earlier known as Kalpalli and hosted a local 'santhe' (market), which catered to the requirements of the cantonment area. A tower with a clock was built in the 1850 following the orders of the then queen.