While traders have accepted a deal from the state, many say that the place will never be the same again.

Ground Report Traders at Hyderabads Sultan Bazar reminisce as Metro Rail construction begins
news News Tuesday, November 01, 2016 - 17:45

The streets of Hyderabad’s Sultan Bazar are always bustling. Traders big and small call out, compete with each other for customers who are often walking around with clutching bags. The only thing out of place are the large white pillars, that shoot up into the sky, but hold nothing up, yet.

“How long we can continue doing this? We have to see,” says Govardhan, cleaning a shelf in his shop. The Kasturba Bangle Shop, has been around for 65 years and is just one of many, that are going to completely or partially demolished for the upcoming Hyderabad Metro Rail. 

Like many surviving older areas of cities, Sultan Bazar too has until now, been both commercial and residential. Govardhan grew up here, and a part of his house, which is situated right above the shop, will also be demolished for the Metro construction. 

“A distance of 16 feet from the entrance of our shop will be demolished. The officials told us that they would send a notice soon after Diwali. We are looking for a rented house nearby, so that we can shift there when the demolition happens,” he said.

(Govardhan, owner of Kasturba Bangle Shop)

The Sultan Bazar, came into being around a century ago, as Hyderabad started expanding. It is located between the commercial hubs of Abids and Koti, and is famous for women’s clothes, silverware, toys and bangles 

However, the entire area may never be the same again.

For the construction of Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR), extensive road widening has been planned, ranging from 80 feet to 65 feet, with many shops between the Bata junction and the Andhra Bank junction lined up for demolition. 

While the traders may have accepted the present scenario, it was not before they went through five stages of grief.

In November 2015, traders at the market downed their shutters in protest and claimed that the Metro would deprive them of hundreds of jobs.

After a face-off that lasted for close to three months, the two parties finally struck a deal, with the Metro Rail promising that a stretch would be developed as a hawkers’ paradise with special arrangements for them in between the Metro's viaduct.

It was also reported that the officials spoke to the shopkeepers about the HMR's Relief and Rehabilitation Complex at Putlibowli, which would accommodate those traders of Sultan Bazar, who would lose their shops for the metro project.

HMR MD, NVS Reddy also said that the tenants whose livelihood are likely to be affected would be compensated.  

An assurance letter confirming the package was also handed over to the Traders JAC by the MD. 

“We don’t have any other choice except accepting this. We just hope that the place will become better,” Govardhan says. 

(Mohammad Faise, a handloom vendor in Sultan Bazar)

Mohammad Faise, a 34-year-old handloom vendor says that 35 feet, which is more than half the area of his shop, will be taken up by the Metro Rail. 

“We are already facing a loss because of these big pillars in the middle of the road. On top of that, the demolition will be a big loss for me. All the workers here will be jobless for months. Even if I continue selling from my place, I’ll earn only 50 percent of what I am earning right now,” he said. 

“Because of the pillars, cars can’t enter this area anymore, and parking has become a big problem. We have faced 30% loss this year during festivals,” Faise explained. 

While some of the shop owners talk about the loss they will face, others worry that the place will not be the same anymore. 

Sai, a 34-year-old worker in a garment shop, who has spent his entire life in that area said, "The officials can only compensate the loss, not the memories."

 

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