Vendors of the Cox Town market have been waiting for more than 20 years for a permanent marketplace. Meanwhile, they continue business in roadside sheds.
The Cox Town market complex that was constructed in 2020 on Madhavraya Mudaliar Road (MM road) still awaits opening and allotment of shops to vendors. After being temporarily shifted to roadside sheds to continue business, the vendors have been waiting for 22 years for a permanent market-place.
Asim, (name changed) a Cox Town market vegetable vendor, said, “There are 21 to 22 shops that were displaced temporarily saying they will build a new market. Now the new complex is ready but the allotment of shops is still pending.”
The MM Road building was completed and inaugurated in early 2020, but the next day, the complex was shut down for repairs said Sulimaan (name changed), a meat vendor from the Cox Town market. In February 2020, the vendors had protested against the non-allotment of the shops in the complex by throwing carts full of vegetables on the road.
The decision to demolish the market was taken in 1999, and it was to be reconstructed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagarika Palike (BBMP). The vendors were promised a part in the new building for a market-place. However, their allotted space was turned into a parking lot for the BBMP office. The vendors, consisting of meat, fish, vegetable and flower shops, were temporarily shifted to sheds opposite the building, near a maternity hospital to conduct business.
The vendors say they have faced a lot of issues over the years and have now lost any hopes of a market even being given to them. Salim Ahmed, a meat seller, said, “There are problems of parking and cleanliness due to the shops being on the main road. The buyers are concerned about the hygiene of the meat and sea food.” Sulimaan added that on evenings after 5:30 and weekends, the traffic is high and the vehicles block the entrance of the shop. This leads to them not having space to keep stock of vegetables and meat.
The sheds are also encroaching the footpath on the already narrow road. “The shops should be allotted as soon as possible because it is causing traffic jam on the narrow road and also there is a foul smell when we pass by” said Pavan, a resident of Cox town.
The shopkeepers say they have asked BBMP on numerous accounts to expedite allotment of the shops but they have always given a reason for the non-allotment said Asim. Sellers have also written letters with signatures to the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of the ward but still there has been no response, said Sulimaan.
Mr. U.B Shantha Kumar, Town planning Expert, said, “They should try contacting the MLA of that area and if there is no response they must write a letter to the Chief Minister”
Abdul hai Shakeeb, president of the Pulkeshi Nagar Residents Welfare Association (PNRWA), said that they have spoken to the vendors on the issue and some of them have expressed concerns over moving into the complex, as it might affect their business. “When we delved deeper into the issue, we got to know a lot of other problems like sanctions, change of governments, and guards, have all contributed into the complex being vacant,” he added.