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Some traders are third-generation businessmen
Many of the buildings are 100 years old
MANGALORE: While Bunder area, including the old port, still continues to be a hub of commercial activity, commercial establishments are concentrated in the Golikatta Bazar area and the narrow by-lanes lead towards the river Gurupur,till lower Car Street.
Trade in groceries, arecanut, forest produce, and hardware and tools form the mainstay of commercial activity in Bunder.
Even to this day, although the volume of trade has declined, the area remains one of the most intriguing parts of the city, and offers a wide variety of goods. Gun dealers complain that the business is not as good as it used to be. “The Deputy Commissioner stopped issuing gun permits a few years ago, making our business suffer,” said M.R. Kini, a dealer in arms and ammunition.
His shop was opened by his grandfather in 1935.
Old battered rifles are displayed in a wooden cupboard with glass doors in Mr. Kini's shop, but there are no takers for arms anymore. “I stopped ordering rifles in 2002, but I still sell ammunition,” Mr. Kini said. He sells more gunpowder (used in single and double muzzle loading rifles) as ammunition, gunpowder for one shot will cost Rs. 10, but a cartridge for .12 (point 12) bore rifles costs Rs. 50.
Now he sells only sulphur, which is used by arecanut wholesalers to give a shine to the surface of arecanut.
Other traders, numbering around seven, supply gunny bags to grocery traders and others. Some of the others deal in coir and related products.
One business establishment specialises in manufacturing and selling its own brand of weighing machines. One of its proprietors Dinesh Bhandarkar said: “Earlier we used to manufacture mechanical weighing machines and measurement scales. Now, we have moved on to electronic devices.”
One of the proprietors just had enough time to say that his shop was started in 1898 before getting back to work saying that post-festival season was very hectic. A wholesaler in rice Venkatesh Bhat said that several of the wholesale traders were third generation businessmen.
Shops selling forest produce such as pepper, elachi, are still around, with a few additions made to their number in the last 30 years.
According to M. Azeem, a wholesale trader of hardware, the number of hardware shops had doubled in the last 50 years. The only fruit stall in Golikatta Bazar is owned by Tausif Ahmed.
He says that it was started by his grandfather around 30 years ago.
On the wane
One thing that most shop owners in the Golikatte/ JMM Road area of Bunder agree on, is that the vibrancy,
Another curious aspect of Bunder is that its architecture and structure have largely remained unchanged for years.
Many of the buildings for example, are more than 100 years old.
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