IT city’s dirty markets

IT city’s dirty markets

Bengaluru’s markets are filthy and stinking. Police and BBMP turn a blind eye to rampant encroachment and garbage dumping. It’s a nexus at work, say citizens.

Waste generated by Russell Market and surrounding areas in Shivajinagar is dumped beside the heritage building. The street is littered with stinking raw meat and vegetable waste, unmindful of the health hazards.

Prominent markets in Bengaluru are filthy and mismanaged, with no concern for citizen safety.

Metrolife visited markets across the city, and found heaps of garbage, rampant encroachment, lack of clean toilets, and unhygienic conditions everywhere.

In the first of a two-part series, we bring you a first-hand experience of what people go through when they visit the city’s markets.


Russell Market, Shivajinagar: Raw meat waste strewn on street

Built in 1927 by the British and inaugurated in 1933, this heritage market remains an architectural beauty from the outside. But not all is well. The worst problem here is disposal of meat. Vendors throw meat waste in the open behind the market, and the entire area stinks. The pavements are taken up by vendors.

Shopkeepers inside say business is badly hit because the stench keeps customers away. They refused to let this reporter click pictures, but shared their woes. Zameer, the vegetable vendor, says, “We have a problem storing fruits and vegetables: rats raid the market at night and nibble away at them. When we are unable to sell our produce, we give it away to restaurants at half price or donate it to ashrams.”

Sulaiman, meat vendor, says: “It is not just vegetable waste but also fish and meat waste that is dumped in the open. The stench drives customers away. We have all developed skin allergies and breathing difficulties because of this.”

The BBMP’s plan to demolish Russell Market ran into opposition, given the heritage value of the building. But it can do lots of other things: enforce proper garbage disposal and clearance, ban throwing of meat and vegetable waste in the open, and create a pedestrian-friendly square.

‘No other place’

Mohammed Idrees Choudhury, general secretary Russell Market Trader’s Association, says that the association has appealed to the BBMP to provide space to dispose of the dry and wet waste.
“The funds for the renovation and waste management have been released by the BBMP but the work hasn’t started. I agree raw meat and vegetable waste is being dumped in the open. We have no other place to throw them. The meat markets from the neighbouring areas of Shivajinagar come and dump meat waste, including chicken, fish, mutton and beef, in the open.”

Idrees also says with Ramazan around the corner, the condition of the market will only get more worrying. “We used to have foreign tourists visit us but now because of the smell, they keep away,” he says.

Carts occupy half the road next to Jayanagar Shopping Complex.
Even inside, vendors take up space meant for shoppers.

Jayanagar Shopping Complex: Well-planned market now in miserable shape

The Jayanagar shopping complex is a 45-year-old structure in the heart of Jayanagar. Shoppers are greeted by heaps of garbage, clogged and overflowing manholes, and footpaths completely encroached by vendors. This leaves no room for pedestrians. The parked carts make the roads and footpaths narrow.

What shoppers say

Chandrakala, teacher living in ISRO Layout, says: “The police have to remove the encroachments. It is wrong to allow the vendors to carry out business on the pedestrian path. We are forced to walk on the road. The cops collect money and allow the vendors to do business here. This should be stopped.”

Asha B R, model: “I live in HSR Layout but I regularly visit Jayanagar. Vendors take up the pavements because they don’t have a designated space to carry on their business. The fruit and vegetable carts are parked in such a way that they jut onto the road, making it difficult for vehicles and shoppers to pass.”

Banashankari: Nightmare for shoppers and motorists

The space near the Banashakari Metro Station was always used as an informal market by vendors bringing fruits and vegetables from villages along Kanakapura Road. The market has now grown in size, with carts occupying not only the pavements and the space beneath the Metro station but also half the main road, making it difficult for pedestrians and even vehicles to pass. Traffic jams and minor accidents are common on this stretch.

The Banashankari market and its waste stretch all the way beneath the Metro
station, and on the roads around the bus stand.

What vendors say Siddaraju, who has been selling vegetable here for 30 years, says: “The police sometimes chase us away but we return because we have no other place to go. It is difficult for us when it rains because we don’t have a place to store our fruits and vegetables.”

What vehicle users say

Shivananda, BMTC bus conductor on Route 600, says: “We always have trouble getting past this signal because of the vendors and shoppers. They take up more than half the road. We have to be careful not to run over anybody.”

Naveen, BMTC bus conductor on Route 500, says: “The traffic jams remain all day. It is at its worst in the morning and late evening. The place is also poorly lit which hampers visibility.”

Sunanda Shetty, homemaker, shops here because the prices of fruits and vegetables are reasonable. “But I am scared because all the footpaths are blocked and we are forced to walk on the road. I don’t know when I will be hit by a vehicle.”

Malleswaram Market: Encroachments everywhere

InMalleswaram, as at othermarkets, vendors projectwith vending zones.
and shops generously take up space meant for pedestrians.

The 80-year-old market was built in the 1940s. Located on 11th cross, it belongs to the BBMP. Vendors not only occupy the space allocated to them in the market but also the pavements, forcing pedestrians to walk on the road. Vendors complain they have no cover when it rains, and no proper place to store their wares.

What vendors say:

Kala, a fruit vendor, says: “I have also developed dust allergy because of uncleared garbage and debris.”

Venkatamma, selling vegetables here for 60 years, says, “Talks about the renovation of the market has been going on for a while. The police come and drives us away once in a while but we have no place to go.”

‘BBMP will clear them in phases’ 

BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad tells Metrolife he intends to manage clear encroachments and manage garbage better.

What is BBMP doing to clear garbage generated at the markets?

In this year’s budget, we have made provisions to instal biomethanation plants in all markets. Each plant costs between Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1 crore. These plants can process up to five tonnes of waste. There is one at K R Market but it has run into some problems. With these machines, the waste generated from each market will be processed and treated within the market.

But nothing has moved?

Garbage management is handled by contractors. It is their responsibility to manage garbage disposal. Contractors who aren’t doing their job will be pulled up or sacked. They will be made accountable.

Encroachments inside and around markets...

They will be removed in a phased manner, just like we did in K R Market. Street vendors should have a designated place where they can vend and go back.

What action will you take against them?

Encroachments have to be removed. It is a continuous process. We have already constructed 80 to 90 shops at the Madiwala market and we are in the process of constructing 440 shops. K R Market has been included as a Smart City project with vending zones.


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