The iconic fruit market at Crawford market is suffering heavy losses, and its vendors are blaming the BMC for their fiscal setback. According to vendors who have been selling fruits for generations at the market, customers have dwindled by almost 75 per cent at the 70-year-old market owing to shoddy refurbishment work done by the civic body inside its premises.
They claimed that overhead pipes installed by the BMC are broken, forcing rainwater to accumulate near the stalls. Paver blocks and tiles placed in the market are broken. What’s worse, vendors claim that the BMC had the work of fitting these pipes and tiles less than three months ago.
“We are nearly 140 vendors running fruit stalls here for the last 70 years. My forefathers started the business, but now customers have dropped by 75 per cent. Customers don’t come in at all, because the market has turned into a shabby place,” said Sharif Qureshi, who has a stall at Crawford market.
Another vendor, Nisar Malik, said that garbage is not disposed of regularly, causing it to accumulate. Vendors are now using plastic sheets to protect their produce from the rain.
The corporator Avkash Jadhav visited the market after receiving complaints from fruit vendors and was shocked to see that the work done by the BMC was so shabby that it was impossible to even walk.
“I reprimanded the concerned officers. The work was completed in May 2012, whereas it was supposed to have been completed in 2011. The work is so bad that it’s giving away within months. The contractor should be forced to carry out the work again and shouldn’t be paid for it. Not only this, all the existing projects of the contractor should be put under surveillance,” he said.
Meanwhile, Machindranath Chitle, the secretary of the Fruit Vendors and Traders Mitra Mandal, claimed that their complaints are falling on deaf ears.
“Our business is badly affected, and we are suffering heavy losses – the paver blocks haven’t been fixed, though they have just been laid, and water accumulates from the pipes, making it difficult to walk. This is forcing the buyers not to return to the markets. We request the BMC to do something soon, we have lodged complaints too.”
The other side
The BMC however claimed to have done its work properly. Chorghe, senior engineer of the A ward BMC, said, “The paver blocks are meant for walking, however, people ride their vehicles on them, and this causes the paver blocks to break.” However, when informed about the pipes, the officer said, “We will get the work done by the contractor, and whatever has been damaged — the paver blocks, the pipes — would be done properly by the contractor again.”