From ‘Pete’ to ‘K R Market,’ Bengaluru’s oldest market built in 1920’s has seen many changes. However, presently not many citizens in Bangalore might have visited this area, as the traffic and garbage problem is terrible and repulsive.
The new market with the unique architecture was built in 1990’s. If the BBMP’s plan goes well, K R Market will see another big change, as a feasibility report for multilevel car parking and some re-organisation in K R market has been prepared and being discussed.
Venkataramanan Associates, headed by Naresh Narasimhan, presented the feasibility report in the council meeting, held on Monday, December 30, 2013.
The feasibility report points out the planners’ failure to predict the future population and demands which resulted in an over-crowded and congested market. Vast area in and around the market is largely left underused. The Principal Architect of Venkataramanan Associates, Naresh Narasimhan, says: “There are more than 10 problems in the market resulted by the lack of planning.”
The building structure neither has demarcated entry and exit points for the pedestrians nor for loading and unloading of goods and materials. Hawkers have occupied most of the open space meant for pedestrians. The 8-metre wide road in front of the market is full of vendors who sell vegetables and fruits.
K R market building has an underground parking, a basement, ground floor and two other floors, out which only the ground floor is optimally used. Most of the shops in the first floor and above remain unused because of lack of visibility like that on the basement. First floor has merchants who sell various metal tools and equipment. However, an estimated 80% of the first floor is closed.
The second floor is locked and completely unused. Underground parking remains invisible as it is filled with garbage, hawkers and darkness.
Narasimhan says, “The proposed plan will only modify the market without acquiring any land from private parties. It will re-organise the place and make it people-friendly and hawker-friendly.”
Proposed transformation of the market
The old market building would be retained and the space would be better-organised.
Entry and exit for the underground parking and pedestrians would be well-defined. The garbage dumps and other blockages would be cleared.
A dilapidated building in the corner on the west end of the old market building would be demolished to make space for a wider road.
The width of westside road (continuation of BVK Iyengar road) will be optimised (road will be widened), and a ramp will be constructed on the market side for the multi-level car parking.
Hawkers from the streets will be shifted to demarcated areas in the area, in front of the building and beneath the flyover.
All the hawkers occupying the 8-metre wide road will be cleared and re-accommodated, and the traffic will be made to flow easily on the road beneath the flyover.
A multi-level car parking will come up behind the market on the north-side. As estimated 250 cars can be accommodated in one floor. Five floors have been proposed.
A loading/unloading dock will be constructed next to the multi-level car parking on the northside.
Existing vendors in this space where the car parking comes up will be given alternative shops to be constructed in the space between old and new market buildings, on the south, northwest and east side of the market.
The garbage dumping spots inside and outside the market will be cleaned.
A common waste management unit will be installed on east side of the market.
Another dumping / unloading spot beneath the flyover will make way for the hawkers’ plaza.
A two-wheeler parking is likely to come up beneath the flyover next to the hawkers’ plaza.
Vendors will have options like fully enclosed shelters, elevated slabs for display purpose and elevated slabs for lockable storage.
A small park and some landscaping will be done in front of old market building.
The plan has elevators on the west and north side that give direct access to the second floor. The report proposes a ‘media city’ and a supermarket as the option for the second floor.
The roadblocks in using the basement parking, like garbage dumps and hawkers, will be cleared and the space will be re-organised for optimal use.
‘Work to be taken up using BBMP funds’
The new market building constructed in 1997 had most of the provisions like a cold storage room, lift and drainage system to clean vegetables, however these facilities were utilised optimally. Reports state that this building was erected at a cost of Rs. 5 crore.
Mayor B S Satyanarayana believes that the proposed plan will ease the traffic pressure on the Market. He says, “K R Market is the most unorganised market. Many of the fruit and flower sellers are unregistered and sit wherever they find place, making it difficult for human and vehicle movement. The proposed plan modifies the market in a way that would facilitate the movement in the market and will also provide place for parking.”
BBMP Commissioner Lakshminarayan says that notices have already been served to the vendors present in the corner building. “This building is in a bad condition; a civil consultant also recommended bringing down of the building. Hence we have served notices to the shopkeepers to vacate the place and shift.”
When asked whether the vendors have any alternative place, the Commissioner said: “The building is not fully occupied. Some of the shopkeepers have failed to renew their lease and pay the rent regularly.”
Commissioner explains the plan in simple terms: “We are planning to improve the availability of four-wheeler parking and increase the mobility in the market.” On the plans for the second floor, he says that at present the 2 lakh sqft space on 2nd floor is un-utilised. “We cannot have two floors of market therefore the second floor is open for anything, it can be used for office purpose,” he adds.
The re-organisation of KR Market area and parking planning assumes importance as the KR Market underground Metro station will come up on the other side of the westside road. This will add to the traffic in the area, and a multilevel car parking seems to be a logical solution to the parking problem in the area.
When the plan was presented in the council, the council members did not express any opposition. However as of now it is only in the proposal stage; the cost is yet to estimated. The project will be floated under BBMP funds, not on private public partnership, says the Mayor. The Commissioner adds: “We are not looking for a PPP model. The corporation will bear the cost of the multi-level car parking and the renovation of the building.”
Now the big question is, how will the fund-crunched BBMP manage to fund this project.
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