‘Revamped’ Basant Lok market opens, but it’s nowhere near complete
Hours before Union minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri could inaugurate the “revamped” Basant Lok Market on Tuesday, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) was busy with last-minute touches in the redevelopment project as a significant portion of the work was still pending.
As part of the redevelopment project, DDA has constructed an amphitheatre, reorganised public spaces, provided pedestrian connectivity to nearby Vasant Vihar Metro station and installed ornamental lightings. The market also has a dedicated space for vendors who have been relocated from main pathways.
The makeover of the market, which is flanked by an elite neighbourhood of Vasant Vihar, is being done at a cost of Rs 10 crore by the DDA. The market was constructed in the 1970s and was then one of the most happening hangout zones in Delhi. Later, with the opening of shopping malls in nearby areas, the footfall in the market dwindled.
The market, constructed in the 1970s, had the legendary Priya’s cinema that used to screen Hollywood movies in the old days.
Now the flagship property of PVR Cinemas, Priya’s was among its first ventures in the national capital.
Residents of Vasant Vihar, which flanks the market, recall that McDonald’s opened its first-ever outlet in the country at this market.
Lack of maintenance and depleting infrastructure in the market affected the footfall.
A survey by traders sometime back showed that besides broken walkways and choked drains, there were no fire safety arrangements in the market.
Also, after malls came up in nearby Vasant Kunj and Saket, most of the popular stores rolled down shutters and migrated, traders said.
While inaugurating the project, Puri said, “Environment is our priority, so it is necessary to stop felling of trees and plant more. I did not let a single tree be cut ever since I joined the office.”
The minister said the revamped market would be disabled and pedestrian friendly and its makeover will attract more visitors.
He also inaugurated the upgraded district park in Vasant Vihar, adjacent to the market complex. The park is a monument garden.
Just before the inauguration of the market area, the under-construction activities were stopped, workers removed from the site and construction debris hidden behind large curtains.
Although the redevelopment work, which started in May last year, was to be completed by March 2019, a significant portion of the work is yet to be completed.
Traders said the installation of CCTV cameras, public address system, tensile umbrella and construction of a piazza, and a water tank is still on.
Multilevel parking at the market and ramps for the disabled are also yet to be built.
The furniture for visitors were fixed just hours before the inauguration.
DDA officials admitted that the redevelopment work is yet to be completed. “We are constructing underground water tank for fire safety and some structures have to be installed at the amphitheatre. Work to make the area disabled-friendly is going on. It will be completed in next two months,” a senior DDA official said.
SS Lamba, president, Basant Lok Upgradation and Maintenance Committee, said some finishing work was still on which would be completed soon. He said Basant Lok would be the first market in the city which will be a fully fire compliant commercial complex. “Dedicated route for movement of fire tenders has been created in the market and there will be a 3 lakh litre capacity water tank. Hydrants have also been installed,” Lamba said.
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