Kannada language and literature is all set to get a presence on Namma Metro. If all goes as per plan, the Vijayanagar metro station will have a store offering Kannada books at discounted prices, the first such store in any metro station in the city.
After ensuring that its staff learns the language, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) has decided to let out its space to vendors who to set up a book store in an effort to encourage Kannada language and literature.
The Vijayanagar station is one of the busiest in the Namma Metro network, which sees overall ridership of about 3.5 lakhs every day.
Applications for setting up the store is part of BMRCL’s recent tender announcements for opening retail outlets in its stations. While earlier, the corporation had called for tenders inviting people to open book stores on the premises of metro stations, this is the first time that applications have been invited for an exclusive Kannada book store.
The store will be spread across 1,925 sq. ft. As per the tender application, the ‘Kannada books and souvenir shop’ will be exclusively dedicated to selling Kannada books, cassettes and CDs or any other items related to Kannada and Karnataka.
BMRCL spokesperson U.A. Vasanth Rao said they are looking at offering books at a 50% discount in the store to encourage more people to buy Kannada books. “If they do well, they can expand their shop to another floor in the same metro station,” Mr. Rao said, adding that depending on the response, they would consider opening similar stores in other metro stations.
The idea of having an exclusive Kannada book store has been welcomed by publishers and booksellers. Guruprasad, owner of Nagashree Book Store in Jayanagar, said, “If the response is good, I feel they should open such a store in other metro stations too. My only concern is whether people will be able to spend time in a metro station to browse through books. That apart, this is a great idea.”
Poet, author and publisher Rajendra Prasad said, “We are living in an age where we are engrossed in our cell phones, even while travelling in the metro. I hope initiatives such as these will encourage people to pick up books and read.”
No takers for tenders on child care centres
With an aim to make retail outlets in their premises ‘community-centric’, metro officials are keen on having day care centres in the stations. However, there have been no takers till now even though BMRCL has advertised this in earlier tenders too.
“We are looking for people who are well-equipped to run child care centres. The entire approach is community-centric. It would benefit people who want to leave their children in these centres before going to work and pick them up on the way back home,” said Mr. Rao.
At present, stations on the Namma Metro network host about 170 retail outlets.