The state Public Works Departmaent (PWD) started the restoration work in November last year and was supposed to finish it before monsoon. However, the authority is yet to complete the laying of the roof, alleged the vendors in the market.
Manzoor Shaikh, the president of the vendors association of the market, said, “We have been urging the PWD officials to complete the work before monsoon, but the work progress has been slugging for the last few months. As a result, vendors and regular customers will face inconvenience during rain.”
As many as 17 fish and five chicken shops were gutted in a fire that broke out early on March 14, 2021. Since then, the vendors have been selling their stock in open passage.
“It has been over two years, but the authorities have failed to restore the fish section in the market. It shows the lackadaisical attitude of the agencies associated with the work. Unfortunately, citizens are at the receiving end,” said Murtuza Poonawala, an activist from the area.
“The PWD authorities have kept construction materials in the open areas. Also, vendors operate wherever they find a place, which causes great hardship to buyers as we do not get adequate space to walk. The vendors are unable to maintain hygiene standards due to a lack of space,” said Asif Shaikh, a regular visitor. The market was built in 1885 by British army officer Lt Gen John Ross as per the design by Gen Cecil D’Urban La Touche and WM Ducat.
“Neither the Cantonment nor the state government managed to maintain the rich heritage of the market. The market is unique and can attract tourists if it is conserved,” Tausif Shaikh, a vendor, said.
Surendra Kumar Katkar, the executive engineer of PWD, told TOI, “I will take a review and then comment.”