Mangaluru, Jan 19, 2019: It would be no exaggeration to state that the Central Market area in the heart of the city is in a total mess. Mangalureans who are known for their tremendous patience in tolerating any civic problem, have chosen to cope with the mess called Central Market Area.
Many dread to enter this area, for walking on the road side is a challenging task and equally challenging is to find a parking space here. One fails to understand why citizens do not opt for some amount of discipline on their own when it comes to public places like these.
To top it all, the street vendors who occupy just any place they find, make matters worse, some even blocking the parking space. It is quite an irony that many a time it is these street vendors who make brisk business more than those inside the market. The problems at the Central Market area have also come up for discussion at MCC meetings, but with no solution in the offing.
Though efforts were made to bring about some normalcy by restricting loading unloading times in the morning hours, many say that the goods laden vehicles are seen on the roadside here even until afternoon.
The MCC on its part has already proposed a hi-tech market building here to replace the old structure. The Board of Mangaluru Smart City Ltd had given its approval for the reconstruction of the central market in October 2018 itself. The proposed market building is to be constructed on a Public-Private Participation Model at a cost of Rs 145 crores on a 3.61 acre land.
But, the implementation of this new market project is not as easy as said. Before the project is initiated, the existing merchants have to be rehabilitated, which is another big challenge. The proposal as of now is to rehabilitate them on the 1.65 acre land which was earlier meant for street vending zone. With no street vendor agreeing to move to the place, it is presently remaining vacant. But it is left to be seen if the traders will agree to shift to the new spot.
As of now, the new market building proposal is not much in discussion. Though a hi-tech market is a welcome initiative, the project may take years to materialise. What about the plight of Mangalureans until then?
It is high time the arrangements in the busy Central Market area are streamlined. The MCC authorities need to personally visit the place and take stock of the situation. They need to hear the woes of the pedestrians, the shopkeepers, merchants as well as the street vendors and outline a road map for the improvement of the existing conditions in the area.
Such a step needs to be urgently taken up by the MCC. "But what is lacking is will power on the part of those at the helm," points out a senior citizen who draws attention towards another issue haunting the city.
It is about the bus terminus at the State Bank area and the service bus stand which occupies a part of Nehru Maidan. "It is a shame that a would- be smart city is still managing with its temporary bus shelters," he quips.
Isn’t this reflective of the style of functioning of the local administration? There is a need to make it mandatory for elected representatives to visit their respective areas at least once a month to have a first-hand information about the civic problems of the area. But how many of our elected representatives have been so pro-active?