Bengaluru: Illegal structures and shops around the historic Russell Market in Shivaji Nagar were cleared as the BBMP took up a massive demolition drive on Saturday. It was similar to a drive at K.R. Market last month. Earthmovers roared onto the premises of Russell Market early on Saturday morning, demolishing the illegal structures.
Working on the directions of Karnataka High Court, more than 700 BBMP workers were on duty on Shivaji Road, OPH Road, Russel Market Broadway Road and other stretches leading to the market.
While temporary structures, like tents, benches, chairs, tables and others were cleared easily, permanent structures, which many illegal traders had built using concrete and metal, were removed using earthmovers.
Many traders angry with the demolition protested, while BBMP officials tried to convince them, saying they were only executing the orders of the High Court and sough the traders' support to clear encroachments. Those who continued to protest were evicted using police force. The police had to use mild lathicharge to get the earthmovers going.
Russel Market Traders' Association president Mohammad Idris said that unlike K.R. Market, Russel Market is not big. "Majority of the traders here are from poor families and if they are evicted, their families will suffer. The eviction drive has damaged a lot of properties," he said.
As traders felt that the eviction drive was not going to stop, many of them started removing structures voluntarily to prevent them from getting damaged. Nearly 40 truckloads of debris were removed from the drive. The parking space opposite Russell Market will now be cleared and will be reserved for fire tenders.
Joint Commissioner of Markets, BBMP, Ravindra said that they were acting on the directions of the high court and more such eviction drives will be taken up in the near future to facilitate easy movement of fire tenders to market places during emergencies.
He said Madiwala Market will be next on the list.
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