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When You Can't Work from Home: Amid Push for Social Distancing, This Bengaluru Market is Crowded

A woman sells flowers in Bengaluru's KR market. (Revathi Rajeevan/CNN-News18)

A woman sells flowers in Bengaluru's KR market. (Revathi Rajeevan/CNN-News18)

The sellers at KR market in the state capital rely on daily wages from the sale of their supplies. Although they have all heard about COVID-19, none of them can afford to stay back, they say.

Bengaluru: Bengaluru's KR Market, selling fruits, vegetables, flowers and other commodities, is one of the most crowded places in the Karnataka state capital on any given day. While the number of people at this market has reduced amidst the coronavirus scare, the area remains crowded enough against the existing advisory on social distancing.

The sellers at the market rely on daily wages from the supplies they sell. Although they have all heard about COVID-19, none of them can afford to stay back, they say.

"Who is going to put food on our table if we stay at home? We have to come everyday, sit here morning to evening to earn our livelihood," says Kalanji who sells vegetables here.

"We know about the virus, we know the government has asked us to stay at home, but we cannot do it. We cannot afford it. We are not scared. You die only once," says Yashodamma, a florist.

Another resident felt that people are overreacting.

"We are daily wagers. We will come out everyday. Nothing is going to happen. The government is unnecessarily scaring others," he claimed.

The Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday wrote to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) asking for the area to be completely sanitised.

"The areas of Chickpet, Mamulpet, Nagrathpet, Kumbarpet, Avenue road, starting from city market including BVK Iyengar road, there is huge merchandise activities going on wherein sanitation is below par, which has become gateway for spreading disease like corona virus. An immediate action should be initiated to clean the entire area," the FKCCI wrote.

However, there has been no order from the civic body on the closure of the market while advisories have been issued to resident welfare associations, paying guest accommodations and citizens using parks.

Business has also taken a hit as the number of buyers has reduced.

Rathnamma, who sells garlands, says she has had to reduce the price due to low demand. "I would have sold a garland for Rs 100. Now I am selling it for Rs 60-Rs 80, sometimes for Rs 50," she says.