On March 9, Bengaluru’s civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, had floated tenders for the renovation of the city’s Krishna Rajendra Market. Two months after the tenders were floated, there was not a single bid, and the BBMP had to close the offer to accept bids.
On June 3, the BBMP once again floated tenders. The last date for submitting bids is June 27 and sources in the BBMP say that the situation is bleak.
“One of the reasons why contractors are not willing to take up the project is because of the land acquisition process. Some existing vendors may lose their shops due to the project and the contractors do not want the burden of convincing them to sell the land,” a senior BBMP official with Bengaluru Smart City Limited told TNM.
Another major problem, he says, is that the existing vendors would be inconvenienced as the entire structure of the vegetable and meat market on the inside has to change. “The contractors are worried about protests. We have given them a 24-month deadline and no one was willing to carry out works in such a crowded area, and finish it soon without backlash,” the official added.
Established in 1928, KR Market was India’s first area to get a public electricity light up and running in 1972. Years of mismanagement and lack of efficient maintenance turned one of the city’s oldest markets into a garbage-strewn dump.
The proposed revamp of the market, estimated to cost Rs 50 crore, includes building new structures for vegetable vendors and restructuring the meat market by constructing stalls with facilities to dispose carcasses of animals and the waste generated efficiently.
“The heritage walls will be intact but the interiors, which have become dingy and dirty, will get a facelift. We will have a separate area for garbage disposal so that the interior of the market remains clean. Same goes for the meat market. We had called for technical bids on May 15 but there were no takers for that one too,” said Suresh, Chief Engineer at Bengaluru Smart City Limited.
The proposed project will also have a new stormwater drain system, electrical supply lines, water supply lines, and also meet fire safety norms. Chief Engineer Suresh says that the existing market does not adhere to fire safety norms and is a threat to vendors and customers.
“There will be designated vending zones with smart vendor kiosks, sensor-based smart dustbins, recycling unit, composting unit, and organised vehicular and pedestrian movement. We will also change the bus routes from KR Market. There will be a foot over bridge from Chickpet Metro Station to the market as well. We will have provisions for loading and unloading bays, rooftop solar panels and solar lighting/energy efficient lighting,” he added.