Kamleshwar Kranti, a snacks vendor in Begum Bazar in the Old City of Hyderabad has been shooing away flies for past three hours. He hasn’t had a single customer, and he’s getting more anxious by the minute.
“Why would people even come to this part of the road, it is so dirty and full of potholes. We could not even sell for Rs 2000 on Monday, and today too, there is not much rush,” says Kamleshwar.
After the frequent rainfall in Hyderabad over the past few days, the vendors of Begum Bazar have been losing out customers. They say that the pathetic condition of the roads and the continuous waterlogging is the main reason for this.
During Ramzan, Begum Bazar - one of the most popular markets in the city - is usually packed during the day as well as the night. However, thanks to the rains, the vendors in the market say that, this year, business has been dull.
Malika Gauri, a resident of Dhoolpet, is one of the regular customers of the market. This time though, she has decided to seek an alternative.
“I come to shop here because the products are reasonably priced and easily available. But I think I need to find an alternative for the monsoon season. The roads have gone from bad to worse. The area is very dirty. There’s water everywhere on the road, and the stench of garbage is unbearable,” she says, while struggling to walk on the waterlogged road.
Sukesh Rao, a vendor, says, “Last year during Ramzan, I used to get hardly any time to eat my lunch because there would be a huge rush in the shop. But this year, in the afternoon I actually shut shop for one hour and go home to get a nap. The business is that slow.”
Pointing towards the road, he says that a few days back, the manholes were overflowing and the road was full of drainage water.
“We called the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) for nearly a week. Finally they came on Monday to clean the manhole. Now they left all the filth from the manhole on the road. It stinks, and after 7pm, it is hard to stand outside because of the mosquitoes,” he adds.
According to him, the business has come down by 50% after the rainfall.
The potholes are also causing accidents, the vendors say.
“A few days back, a couple was using this road; there was a pothole on the road and so they couldn’t gauge the depth of the water and fell down. We rushed to help them. It was nothing serious but these kind of accidents can happen anytime,” says Prem Daga, who owns a tea stall in the market.
“We have given complaints to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to repair the roads, but we get no response,” Prem adds.
However, this is not just the case of Begum Bazar alone. The famous Charminar market in Old City has also been affected.
During Ramzan, the special night market at Charminar is kept open till 3am. But this year, many vendors have decided to close much earlier because there are hardly any customers.
“The night bazaar is the real charm during Ramzan. Last year, the rush was huge especially during the nights. Now, I close my shop by 12am. What is the use, hardly anyone comes and buys,” says Farook, who owns a footwear shop in Charminar.
According to Farook, most of the roads in the market get filled with water after a rainfall of one to two hours. Due to this, the customers find it difficult to walk on the streets.
The GHMC officials have blamed the ongoing road cutting work for the condition of the roads, and have assured that after two days the restoration work will be started.
“Right now, that place has been facing several issues. We inspect those area frequently. Currently, the cable laying work is going in that area. We have given them two days time to finish up the work. Soon after that, the restoration work will be started,” says AS Rathnakar, Executive engineer in GHMC.
“We are aware of the water logging and potholes. It will take few weeks, then the condition will be better,” he claimed.