A smelly flower market, say vendors

Accuse BBMP of allotting shops at garbage yard in violation of HC order

A smelly flower market, say vendors

The joy spread by flowers seems to be missing in the flower business. K R Market, the heart of loose flower business in the City, doesn’t emit the delicate fragrance of flowerets — it has the stinking odour of garbage instead.

Worse still, the market is a likely tinderbox with fire mishaps waiting to occur.
The market — which supplies flowers to marts at Malleswaram, Yeshwantpur, Rajajinagar, Yelahanka — is plagued by numerous problems, notably of garbage and ventilation.

Vendors have accused the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) of allotting more shops than the market can accommodate.

“As per the original plan, only 1,310 shops are to be allotted. But in the last two years, the BBMP has allotted shops at the space meant for dumping garbage,” G M Diwakar, Vice President of Bangalore Flower Merchants’ Association, said.

He also alleged that the BBMP “violated” High Court orders in this regard. The orders were passed on writ petitions filed by him in 1998, 2002 and 2012. The court had directed the BBMP to not permit shops in the open space, Diwakar claimed, adding that he had filed a contempt of court petition against the BBMP.

Salman SGS, a flower vendor, said that nine shops had come up on the 10 allotted “illegal” spaces. “These shops block the passage and create problems for customers. The market attracts nearly 30,000 customers daily and the number goes up to a lakh during festivals.

The shopkeeper says the market is a “tinderbox” as fire mishaps are waiting to occur. “There are fewer exit points here. If a fire breaks out, a stampede is imminent. It could become another Russel Market,” Salman said, referring to last year’s fire in the Shivajinagar market.

P Kumar, another vendor, added another dimension to the issue. He said that “illegal” shops were constructed at night when the market was closed.

 “A group of 50-60 construction labourers arrive by a tempo with ready-to-use concrete, hollow blocks and rolling shutter. “In just three hours, they construct a three-foot cement platform, instal a 10-foot rolling shutter and hang the nameplate,” Kumar said, adding that labourers have the protection of armed goons.

Rachappa Chiniwal, Head of BBMP’s legal cell, said that action could be taken only after previous writ petitions were perused. BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana said that the matter was sub judice and shops were allotted before he took charge. “We are waiting for the High Court order,” he said.

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