Hyderabad: When authorities in Hyderabad set out to restore the Nizami architectural beauty of the Mozamjahi Market, popular among locals as MJ market, shopkeepers and vendors at the heritage point were only too delighted to cooperate.
Two years on, their patience is turning into frustration as the pace of the renovation has slowed down. The business community at the market, which came up in the 1930s, say they are having a harrowing time with footfall dwindling to a trickle.
Except for the clock tower which has started ticking again and the flexis and advertisement boards removed from its walls, nothing much has changed in the heritage structure. MJ Market is still quite inaccessible to the public. The work has also gobbled up its parking area.
Mirzan Bilal, who runs an ice cream shop at the market, said he and other shopkeepers were filled with hope when the work started two years ago. “We were all happy seeing the initial pace of work. But suddenly it became slow, and this has affected our daily business.”
Pebbles and concrete blocks left behind by workers have become a major hindrance to business, said Bilal. “People hesitate to enter when leftover construction materials are strewn all over the market. The other day, one of my customers lost balance and fell. The authorities commence one work before completing the other. Before finishing tiling, they have started filling holes on the roof.”
Subhir Singh’s vegetable shop is as old as the Nizami market. Run by the fourth generation, this shop at the right centre of Mozamjahi is one of the last few veggie shops left there.
“Most of the day I sit idle. Barely some customers come here. There were 20 vegetable shops earlier. But today there are only three left, and that too open rarely. Newspapers had written that Mozamjahi would be renovated. So far, it has only affected us adversely.”
Singh said people found it difficult to access his shop after the road next to the market was dug up. “Slowly customers also reduced. Today what we earn can only satisfy our daily requirements. There is nothing left for tomorrow.”
With shops shuttering, the importance of the market has also come down. Fish and beef stalls are already closed for lack of buyers. Sellers of dry fruit, ice cream, fruit and vegetables are the leading vendors here.
The roof of Musthak Hussain’s chicken stall is still leaking. However, he is fighting through the hard time with the hope that the best days are not too far. “Our only hope is that once the renovation work is over, more shops will open. One and a half year back, KTR [state minister K T Rama Rao] visited our shops and promised that all issues pertaining to our business would be resolved. We are still waiting for that promise to be fulfilled.”
The 60-year-old attar shop of Mohammed Faizal that faces the main road is also not spared. Though located in the heart of the city, all the five attar shops at Mozamjahi are running in loss.
Faizal said, “Every work they began is half done. There are five attar shops in this market. Currently, business is a huge flop. I hope once the renovation is over, tourists will start coming and my business will flourish.”