Three years after the plan to restore one of the oldest markets in the country — Mahatma Jyotiba Phule market (popularly known as Crawford Market) — was approved by the civic body, it has decided to implement the project on its own.
Confirming the decision, Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner (in charge of markets), said: “The restoration designs for phase I of the project have been finalised and the process of preparing tenders is in progress.”
The Crawford Market restoration and redevelopment plan has seen several hitches in the past as it was mired in a long-drawn controverasy 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. They said a Grade I heritage structure was being handed out to a developer with a floor space index (FSI) of 4. The civic body has now decided to take up the project on its own.
“The façade of the market, which has a distinct history, is in dire need of restoration as the stone has been pitted and soiled at several places, while the fountains in the market need to be restored to their original purpose,” said Abha Lambah, conservation architect, who designed the restoration plan.
The project would be phased over two years as it would be carried out without shifting the vendors out of the market.
“We held a public meeting with the vendors, and according to the plan, all of them would be rehoused. Though the kiosks would be realigned to bring in uniformity, there would not be major changes in the original spots of vendors,” Lambah added.
As part of the project, the overcrowded aisles and cluttered places in the market would be spaced out, signboards would be evenly aligned and the decrepit roofing would be reinstated. Leaky tin sheds above certain shops would be replaced by galvanised sheets.
“Emphasis would also be laid on upgrading the safety of the market as it currently has a lot of old electrical wiring, scrap and other flammable material,” said Lambah.