Though the much-delayed restoration of phase I of the Crawford Market is set to begin soon, vendors have rue the civic body’s indecision over the redevelopment of phase II, which houses nearly half the market’s vendors.
Most of the market, they said, is marked by lanes with broken paver blocks and many stall owners work beneath leaky tin sheds. The delay over the market’s redevelopment will only deteriorate its condition, they said.
“Authorities have neglected this portion for years. We have been following the issue with officials from the BMC’s market department, but to no avail,” said Machindranath Chikhale, general secretary, Fruit Vendors’ Association, the umbrella organisation for around 140 fruit vendors in the market.
Phase I of the market comprises the heritage structure. The civic body had recently announced it would begin restoration work of the heritage façade, owing to its crumbling state. The Crawford Market restoration and redevelopment plan, approved by the civic body three years ago, has seen several hitches and was mired in controversy for years owing to conflict over the nature of redevelopment. The project was earlier handed over to a private developer, which led to several protests from activists since heritage guidelines were flouted. The civic body has now decided to execute the project on its own.
However, with the BMC’s market redevelopment policy yet to be finalised, the floor space index component for phase II of the market — comprising its rear wing — is undecided and there is no clarity on when the restoration will begin. To make matters worse, recent repair work taken up by the BMC has failed to bring about any change in the market’s condition.