Jayanagar shopping complex comes to life at last

Following a fire in 2007, the vegetable market was to move to a new block, to be built in place of Puttanna theatre. Reconstruction began in 2011-12, but the authorities say traders were unwilling to move. Shops now have an April 1 deadline
Last Updated 22 March 2019, 13:07 IST

A new block of the Jayanagar Shopping Complex is coming back to life after long years of delay.

The new seven-floor building, which once housed Puttana theatre, will accommodate shopkeepers from the vegetable market. They have about a week, till April 1, to move in.

The complex will henceforth be called Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvarya Shopping Complex.

When Metrolife visited the spot on Friday, only five shops had made the move. A few others had carpenters doing up the interiors.

Raju, owner of Chaitra Stores, is among those who has already moved to the new building. Selling paper plates, glass items and tissue here, Raju also runs a flower shop in the old complex.

“It’s been a couple of days since I moved here. No one really knows the store has moved so sales haven’t picked up,” he says.

The new building boasts CCTV cameras, toilets, drinking water, elevators, electricity and security guards, but the corridors between the shops, with a width of just six feet, are too narrow, shopkeepers complain.

Nalini M Basavaraj has been in business at the complex for 38 years. She sells bangles, incense sticks and puja items.

She told Metrolife that the transition had been smooth, but the paperwork took time. “We have been doing the procedures for two years,” she says.

She expects business to pick up in about six months.

The first two floors of the new block will have vegetable vendors and stores selling gift items and puja material until a new complex with a multiplex comes along. The government has promised to complete the work in three years, but shopkeepers are sceptical.

Sri Gangamma Pooja Store owner Ratnamma complains about the expense that comes with moving. “They have given us space, but we have to spend on the interiors and the signboards. I have already spent Rs 5,000 on a new board and the interiors will take about Rs 60,000,” she says.

Only those who pass by the southern side of the complex will go shopping at the new building.

“Earlier, people from all four corners had access to us,” she says.

The corridors aren’t the safest for customers, given their narrowness. Also, the building opens only on one side, which means the plan has not taken into account stampedes and emergency situations, a shopkeeper says.

Byrasandra ward corporator N Nagaraj blamed the shopkeepers for the long delay: it has taken eight years.

“The work was completed three years ago but the vendors were just not willing to move. That’s when the court intervened and gave them a deadline. We will file a report to the court in two days about how many shops have been vacated in the old building,” he says.

More to come

Sowmya Reddy, Jayanagar MLA, says she is doing her best to get things moving.

“After I came to power nine months ago, I have held multiple meetings with shopkeepers and other stakeholders, including the BDA and the BBMP. There wasn’t enough funding, but I am glad it is finally opening,” she told Metrolife.

Sowmya describes the complex as “a pride of Jayanagar,” a spacious, thoughtfully planned shopping complex built long before malls took over the city.

“I want to make sure it is maintained well and the work on the new complex starts soon,” she says.

Fabulous foresight

The complex was built in 1976, when D Devaraj Urs was chief minister. Jayanagar was then developing, and the authorities saw the need for a well-planned shopping complex for a host of products and services.

The site was a cricket and sports field earlier. An unexpected fire broke out in 2007 in the vegetable market towards the west of the complex, and the government said vegetable vendors would be moved to a new block as part of the redevelopment of the complex.

The authorities then demolished the block housing Puttana cinema, named after legendary Kannada film director Puttanna Kanagal.

The reconstruction began in 2011-12, when the current MLA’s father, Ramalinga Reddy, was the Jayanagar MLA.

The government had promised to complete the work within three years, but in practical terms, it has taken eight years. The complex originally belonged to the BBMP but the government handed it over to the BDA in 2010. It’s now back again with BBMP.

Rent just Rs 5k

The monthly rent for a shop is Rs 5,000, dirt-cheap by Jayanagar standards, and the new complex will have 225 shops.

Corporator Nagaraj counters the shopkeepers’ complaint that the shops are too small.

“The extent is the same as their old shops. But there, they had occupied the corridors and other common areas,” he says.

Rs 2 lakh loss every day

Ravikrishna Reddy from the Lanchamukta Karnataka Nirmana Vedike says the delay has come at a huge price. He estimates the government has lost about Rs 2 lakh in rent every day.

Building highlights

Two passenger lifts, 25 CCTV cameras, LED lights and security. Parking for two-wheelers.

(Published 22 March 2019, 12:52 IST)

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