TRADERS in Central claim they have lost business because workers on the Mid-Levels escalator site are dumping rubbish outside their shops. The $205 million project, which should have been finished last month, has been delayed until September because of the poor weather last year. Construction is nearly completed and moving staircases have been installed in some parts of the link. Workers are putting the finishing touches to interior decoration. But a Shelley Street grocer Mr Wong Hin-fung claimed a 50 per cent drop in business in recent months because customers were kept away by the dirty environment. His neighbour Miss Amy Leung, owner of a property agency, said: ''Several weeks ago the pavement was blocked by dunes of rubbish and for several days not one customer came into our shop.'' ''Not until we had complained for nearly a week did workers come to remove the rubbish.'' Ms Paola Dindo, owner of an arts workshop at Staunton Street, said people were forced to dump rubbish because bins had been removed for construction to go ahead. Ms Dindo also complained about the noise from a neighbouring construction site. She claimed business had ''gone down to zero''. A government spokesman said some inconvenience was unavoidable but it had been kept to a minimum. A Buildings and Lands Department spokesman said shopkeepers were unlikely to be able to claim compensation. The 225-metre escalator link will go through Central Market, Cochrane Street, Hollywood Road, up Robinson Road and end at Conduit Road. It will have a capacity to move 30,000 people a day.