Bruhat Bengeluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has completed the reconstruction of the Gandhi Bazaar market road but still lack in sales have been reported.
Like every morning Tahir came to Gandhi Bazaar early to set up his shop at 8 A.M. He collected all the pieces and decorated his ornaments shop like a bride. He had great hope that may be today he will see some customers. But as the day passed he hardly got any. He finally gave up and decided to close his shop for the day.
“This project of re-constructing the market road was meant to attract consumers but it is worse than before. I’m permanent here. I have been setting up the shop for the past five years. Before the construction started, I used to get ample customers. But now I hope every day to have some footfall but I barely get any,” said Tahir.
Tahir is not the only person who is depressed by the outcome of construction. Other shop owners and street vendors also sing the same tune of depression due to hard sales.
Mohammad Sahim, a street vendor selling vegetables, was also waiting in vain for a customer.
“This construction has brought nothing new here. I had high hopes that once the work was done, people would start to come here again. But my sales dropped drastically within a few months. Maybe people still do not know that the market is now open and BBMP’s work is long done,” he said.
Similarly, Salman was catering to the sole customer he had since morning at his flower stall. He was wondering whether to continue in Gandhi Bazaar or start looking for other options to set up his stall. “Earlier the customer flow was so good that at least four to five workers were required to manage my single flower stall. But now times have changed. I have to sit with no work for hours. I have been thinking of shifting my stall to some other place,” he said.
Residents and shop owners say that the way BBMP designed the road has lead to the shortfall in customers. Mr. Kaushik, a perfume and incense shop owner pointed out a major issue, “You see there is no space available for people to park their vehicles. There is a parking space which is about 1.5 kilometers away from the market. But if my product costs Rs.100 and the parking space also costs Rs. 100, then why would anyone pay a total of Rs. 200 just to get my product?”
He further explained that the market should be easy for shoppers to access. “BBMP has given a lot of space for footpaths and restricted the space of the main road. All four-wheeler parking has been converted into two-wheeler parking. BBMP should provide a solution.
Residents of the area agree with shopkeepers demands for better parking.
Guruprasad RK, secretary of Heritage Basavanagudi Residential Welfare Forum said that they have already requested BBMP to provide free parking space or low-cost parking space. “We have been nudging BBMP for a while now. We want parking space in Gandhi Bazaar so that footfall of people can increase and vehicular movements will not get restricted.”
The official plan for the redevelopment included parking spaces for two wheelers and cars at different segments of the road
Meanwhile, an official of BBMP Basavanagudi branch declined to comment on the issue. He said, “We cannot be involved in this issue. We only follow whatever orders come from the department.”
Parking space has nothing to do with the footfall of customers, thinks Vikram Bhatt, an urban Planning expert. He explained that the market is not far away from the metro station. So people who want to go shopping in the market will automatically come irrespective of whether there is a parking space or not.
“To attract consumers, builders should know what kind of customers they are catering to. Gandhi Bazaar is mostly a wholesale market where you can get cheap products. If one wants to increase footfall one has to bring other projects such as showrooms, malls, or cafe culture. These things attract young people. Just constructing a new road and expecting to get results like that of Church Street is not possible, he said.”
The project of beautification of the Gandhi Bazaar road similar to Church Street was taken up by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) and BBMP’s central branch near N.R.Square in September 2022. The construction was completed in January 2024.