Kamla Market to get off-white facade like Connaught Place, revamped clock tower | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Kamla Market to get off-white facade like Connaught Place, revamped clock tower

May 06, 2024 05:52 AM IST

MCD has begun working on restoring the corridors of the 72-year-old Kamla Market, and will repair the existing clock tower, officials said

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has initiated a revamp of Kamla Market, officials aware of the project said on Monday, stating that as part of the renovation, the façade of the market will be painted white, similar to nearby Connaught Place.

An artist impression/visualisation of the revamped Kamla Market.
An artist impression/visualisation of the revamped Kamla Market.

The civic body has also begun working on restoring the corridors of the 72-year-old market, and will repair the existing clock tower, the officials said, adding that the entire revamp work is expected to cost around 1.2 crore.

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The project is likely to be completed by June this year, the officials said.

Kamla Market Welfare Association (KMWA) vice president Lakhwir Singh said that after the repair work is complete, the market will look like it did when it was first inaugurated in 1951. “The market was originally painted white, but over the years, it was repainted in various colours. MCD is now restoring the market to its original colour. We have asked the municipal officials to take care of the outer façade of the market, while the areas inside will be repaired by traders,” Singh said.

At present, MCD officials said, the corporation’s workers have removed the haphazard signage outside the market’s 271 shops to repair the façade and have taken down the decades-old internal machinery of the clock tower for its overhaul.

“We will also restore entry gates to the market, along with two stone slabs which state that the market was launched by then President Dr Rajendra Prasad on November 29, 1951,” an MCD official said, on condition of anonymity.

The MCD plan also includes the strengthening of the roof, walls and parapet of the market, along with the replacement of its concrete floor with Kota stone and pavers. “We will also remove encroachments from the corridors and open spaces which will need cooperation from the traders,” the official said.

On March 14, HT had reported that MCD invited bids to restore the 72-year-old market and its clock tower. At that time, traders had objected to a new toilet complex which was being developed in front of the market, next to the clocktower.

The under-construction structure has since been removed, the market association said.

Also Read: NDMC to redevelop Gole Market region with parking, art galleries

During a spot-check on Wednesday, HT found that the concrete from slabs, beams and columns in the market was exposed, and iron beams were rusting. However, the roof of the single-story market — which served as an unofficial storage space as well as an area where workers of nearby shops went for naps — has been cleared now.

Also Read: MCD to restore 72-year-old clock tower at Kamla Market in Delhi

HT found that the rooms housing a second clock — located on the facade of the market on the wall facing the Ramlila Maidan — are in a dilapidated condition, while the roof has developed cracks. However, the cracks on the façade of the clocktower have been filled, and peepal trees that were growing in the structure have been removed.

A walk down history 

The market, named after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s wife Kamala Nehru, is in the shape of a horseshoe and was developed as two concentric arches — on the lines of Connaught Place.

At first, the market boasted several restaurants, grocery shops, and ice cream parlours, the market never really took off, and by the 1960s, traders from Shraddhanand Market across the road moved in, and Kamla Market soon became synonymous with metalware.

Also Read: Commercial hubs near Old Delhi to be revamped soon

However, this too didn’t last, and by the late 1970s and early 1980s, the market began to produce desert air coolers, soon becoming one of India’s biggest markets dealing in this space cooling machinery.

On February 23 this year, lieutenant governor VK Saxena inspected the market, and directed the agencies concerned to take remedial measures.

Also Read: Adaptive reuse of old, decaying buildings in metros across India

“Unfortunate that these beautifully designed & planned hubs in the heart of the Capital are crumbling due to unpardonable apathy and neglect on part of Government agencies & departments,” Saxena had posted on X.

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