Thursday, June 10, 2010

Repair today, demolition tomorrow

Repair today, demolition tomorrow
Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore, June 9, DHNS:

Malleswaram always cried for a bigger, better, cleaner market. Realising that long-felt need, the State Government had last year allotted Rs 48 lakh to renovate the existing market there. But even as half the repair work is now done, the Government has proposed a whopping Rs 76 crore to build a brand new commercial complex at the same spot.

Although residents, shop owners and elected representatives welcomed the move to build a new complex, they couldn’t come to terms with the lakhs of rupees spent on the renovation work last year.

The toilets built for the renovation are half complete and will most probably be demolished if the State has its way.

Nevertheless, the proposed commercial complex is gathering favourable public opinion. Local corporator, Manjunath Raju of Ward 65, Kadu Malleswara told Deccan Herald that the structure will provide maximum relief from the parking woes in the area.

But what about the poor shopkeepers in the existing market? Will they get a fair share in the commercial complex? Locals state that the complex will regulate the movement of commercial stablishments in the area.

“The current status of the market shows the most obvious. Most of these shops serve as godowns for businessmen who have their shops elsewhere,” said a sarcastic Raman, who runs a vegetable shop in the market. The shopkeepers claim that with the rent placed at a much subsidised rate of Rs 100 per sq feet per month for the small commercial spaces, most businessmen use them as godowns or storage spaces.
The going rate for commercial spaces in the area for lease is Rs 5,000 per month for the same measurement. Of the 164 shops in the vicinity, 100 are either locked or used as storage spaces. The shop owners feel the proposed commercial complex will allow only genuine shopkeepers to run their businesses inside.

With shops as virtual godowns, the area has almost turned into a playground. “We are being asked by the nearby school management to pay Rs 5,000 for using their ground. Where will we go?” this query by a boy playing cricket made for a tell-tale comment of the current state.


Ganesh, florist: “We have been hearing the proposal for a new complex for the past 20 years. We will believe it only when we see it. The commercial complex will serve a lot of people if built.”

Rama Nagraj, resident: “It will be good for the people if they provide a clean and hygienic market. The commercial complex will definitely be good for the residents of Malleswaram”

Raman, vegetable vendor: “Most people in the Malleswaram market do not use the market space for commercial activity. They are mostly used as storage spaces.”

Ramakka, trader: “I have been here for the past 10 years. Now there is no business. My grandsons have asked me to be here till they provide some sort of business for me”

Hassan Ali, trader, Kalasipalya: “If the buildings are demolished to widen the road, it should be ensured that traders’ livelihood is not affected. TDR will not be accepted.”

Mohammed Nazir Khan , trader, Kalasipalya: “I had bought a small shop at a big price. I will give my shop for road widening only if a similar space is given.”


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