With a call for prayers from a mosque that has virtually risen from ashes, Manish Market on Friday will announce its arrival back on the scene, six months after a devastating fire put it out of business.
While around 200 shops in the ground-plus-two complex, known for its stores stocked with cheap toys, clothes, perfumes and electronic goods, are set to open in a week's time, the Hashmati Jama Masjid on the top floor, that has been restored ahead of other parts of the building, will announce the market's intent to get back to work with the afternoon azaan.
|Final repair work in Manish Market
|| on Thursday
Goods worth Rs 500 crore were lost in the November 26 fire and the blaze had caused considerable damage to the building's structure. While there were talks of pulling the building down and constructing it anew, Manish Market, with 'jugaad' at the heart of its business philosophy, is already humming with arrival of new merchandise and frenzied reconstruction work in cubby-hole shops.
On Friday morning, all those who have businesses in the building will gather for a prayer at 2 pm to mark the reopening of the market.
The reconstruction work of the building, which is managed by Nutan Pushpak Cooperative Society, began in February this year. “To begin with, we had to carry out several tests - drill, load, ultra sound and core - to establish if the building could be repaired in the first place,” said Haroon Merchant, secretary of the society and a trustee of the in-house mosque.
The tests were carried out in December last year and results handed over to the BMC. The civic officials examined the reports and gave a go-ahead for repairs in February.
The funds for repairs were raised by the shop-keepers themselves. Each contributed Rs 1,000 per square feet depending on the area owned by them. The repair work began on February 25.
“We have been able to complete external work in most areas of the building. These areas have been handed over to shopkeepers so that they can start work inside their shops,” said Iqbal Sanjari, a member of the sub-committee constituted to oversee the repairs.
Though the society had a Rs 2 crore accident cover, it hasn’t received a penny yet from the insurer. The blaze was caused by a short circuit, and the fire brigade report said that it originated from a mobile store on the ground floor.
Shopkeepers, meanwhile, are excited about resuming business. “I am restless...I want to get back to work. I want to put the unfortunate incident and losses incurred behind me and start afresh,” said Rizwan Mandhai, a shopkeeper. The building after the repairs, society members believe, will be “much better than it was before”.
The old market, built in 1974, had wires dangling all over, shops jutted out in the walkways haphazardly, and fire safety arrangements were poor. Not to mention that the market during peak hours got very suffocating due to poor ventilation. The renovated structure will take care of all these problems.
If all goes to plan, the market spread over 40,000 square feet should be up and running, at least a large part of it, in the next week.
Repairs carried out
» Complete change of flooring
» Construction of new boundary wall
» POP work on ceiling
» Brand new shutters
» Reconstruction of walls
» Complete overhaul of electrical fittings and wiring
» Installation of fire fighting system