It says fire-weakened structure is a hazard, plans new building
Even as Russell Market traders are gearing up for the Sunday inauguration of the renovated market, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has floated tenders inviting designs for the new market to come up in its place.
This follows the agency hired by the BBMP, Civil Aid Techno Clinic Pvt. Ltd., stating in its report that the structure has to be brought down.
The report, on the structural stability of the market, says the February 25 fire has weakened the 85-year-old structure.
Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda stated categorically that the BBMP would go by the agency's report. “The BBMP is responsible for the safekeeping and maintenance of the market. We will have to bring down the structure and reconstruct the market,” he said. The tender calling for designs for the new market was floated on Saturday, a senior official told The Hindu.
The BBMP had clearly stated soon after the fire that the civic body would not be responsible for any accident in the market. “A public notice was issued in this regard. We urged the traders to wait for the structural stability report. Yet they went ahead with the renovation without getting any approval from the BBMP,” he said. The official said that the traders could have submitted their renovation plans, which could then have been verified by the agency. “The BBMP was not consulted at all. The structural stability report states that the roof has lost strength. If it caves in, the BBMP will be blamed. The traders are risking their lives and those of others visiting the market,” he said. The BBMP has plans to construct a three-storey complex with basement parking. The traders will be allotted shops in the ground and first floors, while government offices will be given space on the second floor.
The official maintained that the architectural style of the market including its façade, would be retained and construction would be taken up in phases.
Traders would be accommodated in temporary stalls opposite the market and in Richard's Square until the construction is completed.