Underground markets back on BMC agenda
Inspired by Delhi’s Palika Bazaar at Connaught Place, the civic body wants to locate the markets under open grounds, parks and gardens, close to railway and metro stations
Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ambitious plan to decongest the city’s roads and footpaths by shifting licensed vendors to underground markets has made a comeback this year after being put in cold storage in 2017.
Inspired by Delhi’s Palika Bazaar at Connaught Place, the civic body wants to locate the markets under open grounds, parks and gardens, close to railway and metro stations. Prakash Rasal, assistant commissioner (markets) visited Delhi’s Palika Bazar for a survey on January 15, while Mumbai’s guardian ministers MP Lodha and Deepak Kesarkar have instructed all 25 administrative wards to identify suitable locations for such markets.
“The plan is to place street vendors underground and the garden or maidan on top for double utilisation of open spaces. Each ward has to identify one location,” said Santoshkumar Dhonde, assistant commissioner, G south ward. Illegal hawkers will not be allowed to ply their trade in such markets.
While the civic body will appoint a consultant on Wednesday to decide on the list of open spaces under which markets will be developed, some locations have already been shortlisted. They include the Maharashtra High School ground in Currey Road, measuring 4,000 square metres, the Ganpatrao Ambre Maharaj Garden in Andheri West, located around 280 metres away from Azad Nagar metro station and 2.01 kilometers away from Andheri railway station.
Kishore Gandhi, deputy municipal commissioner(gardens), will issue the no objection certificate for constructing markets beneath open spaces, while Sanjog Kabare, deputy municipal commissioner, special and town vending committee, will be responsible for executing the construction.
Rasal, who surveyed Palika Bazar on January 15, said similar underground markets could be set up at Azad, Oval and Cross maidans, but there are restrictions under development control regulations (DCR), so the government will have to issue a notification to grant permissions.
“The idea of underground markets is to free pavements by shifting businesses underground. Initially, we are looking at the island city. The garden department and ward office will decide on the open space to be selected,” he said.