Though there is a renewed talk about remodelling of the busy Central Market – the hub of city’s vegetable and fruit trade, it appears it is unlikely to be realised any soon. The building, a source of traffic congestion, leaks in monsoon – which is only a week away – and its surroundings remain unhygienic.
The Mangalore City Corporation which got a couple of remodelling sketches – one two years ago and another six years ago – has not acted any further. The new Mangalore City South MLA J.R. Lobo, who has announced that remodelling of this building is one of his priorities, is yet to give a final shape to his thoughts.
The Corporation, on its part, has not even decided whether to take it up with its own or Government funds or to push the proposal under the public-private partnership mode. Corporation Commissioner K. Harish Kumar suggested that the building could be demolished and reconstructed under the PPP model as this would spare the civic body from scouting for funds. The project is still in conceptual stage.
When contacted Mr. Lobo said, “I have already spoken to the Deputy Commissioner about it. Shortly we will have a meeting and work out a plan.” Without offering a deadline on this, he said he would “most likely get active” on the project after the first session of the new Assembly.
Mr. Lobo said he would ensure new central market with modern facilities during his 5-year tenure. Mr. Lobo who visited it recently found it highly congested. The complication was that traders will have to be accommodated elsewhere when it is demolished and reconstructed, he said. Financial institutions could lend loan if “the project is financially viable” Mr. Lobo said.
Meanwhile, the traders are left to fend for themselves. Mr. Ahmed Kabeer, a vegetable and fruit vendor rues that the promise to renovate the 60-year-old building has remained unrealised. Another vendor Mr. Mustafa said “The previous government did nothing. Mr. Lobo promised us to solve our problems. Let us see what happens.”
Another vendor pointed out that the toilet in the vegetable market is not kept clean and was unhygienic though its maintenance is outsourced to a private contractor. It “always remains unhygienic” said a vegetable vendor Mr. Munna Bai. Vegetable vendor J.R. Rafed said floor of the building was uneven and during rainy seasons water gushed into shops. The other problems include unclean surrounding with traders dumping vegetable waste unscientifically, traffic hold-ups during peak hours and early in the mornings. Then, a large number of vegetable and fruit vendors occupy the footpath around the building adding to the congestion.