Anwar Rangrez, 34, is busy arranging goods in his new shop at Grant Road. Rangrez’s shop at Sahara Market was gutted in the fire that broke out a fortnight ago causing him a loss of more than Rs40 lakh. “Life has given me a new opportunity and I want to utilise it fully,” said Rangrez, adding that just ruing on the incident is a useless exercise.
More than 165 ill-fated traders from Manish market and Sara Sahara market on Mohammed Ali Road have found a new abode at the five-storeyed Aditya Arcade near Dreamland Cinema. Though this place does not enjoy the prime place status of their former workplace, the traders are optimistic of bagging a good business. The arcade would be formally thrown open to the public on Sunday.
“This place is in the proximity of Lamington Road which is the wholesale market for both electronic goods and computers and hence we are confident of setting up a new market here,” said Magan Choudhary, 32, owner of Shreeji Mobiles. Choudhary vividly remembers the scene when he entered his shop after fire and found everything charred. “It was like a graveyard and I did not feel like going there after that,” said Choudhary, who worked at Sahara Market for seven years.
Many traders are thankful of the help offered by others to tide over the crises. “While my friends and relatives offered monetary support, some traders even gave us goods for a long credit period,” said Choudhary.
Another set of traders are busy negotiating with City Centre Mall at Mumbai Central and some have set up their shops in nearby malls. For 20- year-old Ismail Sayed, who uploaded softwares in mobile phones at Manish market and has now set up a temporary shop in Madanpura area, all that matters is retaining his regular consumers. “We cannot afford to lose our loyal customers to whom we have given services for years,” said Sayed.
The fire on November 27 reduced more than 2000 shops to ashes costing thousands of traders their shops and source of income. However, the optimism remained.
“There was confusion for some days but I was confident that we would be back on our feet again,” said Ramlal Kumawat, 21, who works as a helper at Oxy Accessories shop. Even consumers are not complaining and are cooperating with the traders. "Since a week there has been a shortage of goods and we are happy that the shops will reopen," said Uttam Singh, 22, who used to buy goods for his Malad-based shop from Mohammad Ali Road.
Viren Shah, president, Retail Traders Welfare Association, said: “These traders have shown how one should cope with a crisis without losing optimism.”