Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Malleswaram market needs a civic champion

Malleswaram market needs a civic champion

Vaishalli Chandra



A walk down Malleswaram's narrow lanes and famous market place is not without its temptations. Want a taste of brands and street fashion? Malleswaram market on both sides of Sampige Road and nearby lanes is the ideal place. Be it kitchenware, clothes, footwear, fancy trinkets or electronic gadgets — all are there for your pick. In fact, the market is Malleswaram's mascot because people from afar refer to it as a swell of a place to get things at reasonable rates.
But there ends the happy note. Shoppers have a long list of complaints. They concern lack of upkeep and absence of amenities in the market place. "Many parts of footpaths are in dire need of repair," says Sujatha N, a frequent shopper and resident of Mathikere. The popularity is also its bane, it appears.
Swelling crowds and lack of elbow room make the market not an easy place to shop. "It's now become congested," complains R Harish, a Malleswaram resident. He remembers not long ago this market was a pleasant place to come to. But it is not all of people's making though. Harish points out at a newly laid footpath that remains unused as construction debris is still covering the footpath, making it unfit for pedestrian use. "Who is to blame," he asks.
"Often, shoppers end up walking on the main road," says Sukanya Sai, another resident. "On the one side is heavy traffic and on the other are squatters and vendors encroaching whatever little space is available on the footpath," says she.
Brinda, a homemaker and a resident of Malleswaram for three decades says, "Earlier, it was a pleasure to shop at the market place as we could bargain and get the best deal. But now it has become difficult to stand and check goods as there is so much mad rush and din."
The commercial competition between the shop owners and vendors has also created problems for shoppers and passersby. "Even those with shops often extend their displays on the footpath, making it difficult to use the footpath," says Sumathi, a school teacher. And the poor vendors, whose livelihood is threatened, abuse the shop owners creating frequent law and order problem.
"I think these vendors should be moved to another place as they crowd the footpath. The young crowd is happy buying everything from vegetables to clothes from swanky stores that sell branded products," says Yogita Jain, a frequent visitor to the market.
"There is a fresh vegetable store, so why would I buy from the street," asks Lakshmi, a mother of two.
Even elders find it difficult to walk on these crowded areas. Many of them prefer to stay within their apartment complexes. "I once sprained my ankle, trying to balance on an uneven tile," complains Yogita Manekar, a homemaker.
While many feel the vendors are an inevitable part of the shopping experience at Malleswaram, there are others who want them removed to another spot — to make more leg space for public in general. Residents' Associations of Malleswarm want the market given a facelift.

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