When the relocation of M.G. Road’s Cauvery Emporium, one of the city’s landmark shopping centres for handicrafts, was announced in 2019, it was supposed to be completed within eight months.
Fast forward to three years, the construction of the new four-storey building, also on M.G. Road, is still not completed.
According to officials of Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited (KSHDCL), the construction work will be completed in the next six to eight months.
While the construction work was first taken up by Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL), the work has now been handed off to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), after the former delayed the construction work.
According to Belur Raghavendra Shetty, chairperson of KSHDCL, the corporation has been paying an annual rent of ₹3.6 crore [₹30 lakh per month] for the last three years at the building where Cauvery Emporium is currently situated.
“KRIDL committed some violations due to which we had to let them go. After this, the matter was not brought before the board for a long time. It was only brought recently and I have given it my approval. There is a plan to include a penalty clause in the new contract to ensure that the work is completed within the scheduled time,” he said.
“KRIDL did not give us any particular reason for why there was a delay in construction. Now with BMTC, we are hoping for the work to be finished in six months. The new building will come up just a few buildings after the current building and will have a big logo of Cauvery at the elevation according to the proposed plan,” said D. Roopa, Managing Director, KSHDCL.
Ms. Roopa added that business has picked up at the emporium after the pandemic and every month, hundreds of new products are being launched. While the traditional Navalgund durries, which also have a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, are made with bright fabrics, a new pastel colour scheme has now been introduced for the same to attract the younger generation customers.
After a downward trend in turnover for three years, KSHDCL has seen a 41.8% increase in its turnover in the recently concluded financial year (2021–22). While the turnover was ₹16.88 crore in 2020–21, it rose to ₹23.95 crore in 2021–22.
“Entry into Amazon, Flipkart, and other online sales portals, various within and out-of-State exhibitions, incentive schemes for salespersons, tie-ups with other government departments, and a social media presence are some of the reasons for the uptick in revenue,” Ms. Roopa said.