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Corporation office ransacked

Staff Correspondent

Traders protest against removal of temporary shelters in their absence



ASSESSING THE DAMAGE: A police officer inspecting the Mysore City Corporation office on Devaraja Market premises in Mysore on Tuesday. — PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

MYSORE: Traders protesting against the proposal to demolish the Devaraja Market heritage structure on Tuesday ransacked a Mysore City Corporation office on the market premises, following removal of temporary shelters in front of the shops in their absence.

Nearly 50 officials of the Corporation led by Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim broke open the market gates and removed the plastic and tarpaulin sheets when the traders were staging a protest in front of the Corporation office. Soon, a section of traders ransacked the Corporations' Revenue office.

Corporation sources said the officials were forced to remove the tarpaulins, as they got information that some disgruntled elements will set the market on fire. But traders refuted the claim made by the officials. Vegetables stocked in the shops were thrown away, they said.

It was a precautionary measure against any fire in the market, which has witnessed three major fire accidents in the past, sources said.

In a release, the Corporation said the temporarily shelters made of plastic sheets and tarpaulins were inflammable and they would cause the fire to escalate easily.

The Corporation said it had directed traders to remove plastic sheets following a directive from the Fire and Emergency Services Department, which conducted a study of the market in June.

Further, it said traders have made arrangements for lighting on their own. The dangling open wires pose a threat to life.

Devaraja Market Traders' Association president Mahadevu said it will file a complaint against the officials.

Procession

Traders of Devaraja Market took out a procession from its North Gate on Tuesday morning, following a bandh call given by the Devaraja Market Traders Association. Major markets in the city remained closed.

Traders of Lansdowne Building, Vani Vilas and Mandi Mohalla markets, three other heritage markets, joined; they too kept their shops closed.

The Devaraja Urs Road Traders and Tenants Association and Sayyaji Rao Road Traders and Tenants Association have extended support to the traders of Devaraja Market.

Police personnel were deployed in the market since morning, when customers started coming. Many purchased vegetables, fruits and flowers and other items near Dufferin Clock Tower before the police vacated the vendors.

Tension prevailed for a while when vegetable vendor Ramaraju poured petrol on him and made a self-immolation attempt. Under pressure from the traders, the police let off Ramaraju, who was later taken to the hospital.

Traders sought the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner in the matter. Traders association president Mahadevu said they had lost faith in the Corporation Commissioner, as he had directed removal of temporarily shelters in the absence of traders.

Some BJP corporators tried to convince the traders saying they would help them find a solution to the problem.

The traders later met Deputy Commissioner S. Selvakumar at his office, and handed over a memorandum.

Police personnel have been deployed in large numbers around the Devaraja Market.

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