Mysuru: The 129-year-old heritage building of Devaraja Market is soon going to be a memory if the recommendation of the Heritage Committee led by Deputy Commissioner Abhiram Sankar to the Mysuru City Corporation Commissioner to demolish the structure is executed.
The recommendation has been made keeping in mind the safety of the vendors and the purchasers who come to the market. However, the solace is that the Committee has recommended the re-construction of the structure keeping in mind its original form.
The debate over the pathetic plight of the market and whether to demolish it or to renovate it has been going over the last few years. Earlier too, when the Municipality resolved to demolish and reconstruct the market, the tenants approached the High Court.
It was then that the HC asked the Deputy Commissioner to form an expert committee and gather the opinion. Based on the High Court direction, Deputy Commissioner formed a separate expert committee with Structural engineers, architecture, civil engineers and Historians, who were not part of any government body to conduct the study.
The Committee said that the heritage building can only be kept as a monument for sight-seeing while its precarious state makes it unsuitable for usage. Following this, Abhiram Sankar, Deputy Commissioner, who also heads the Heritage Committee immediately informed the Municipal Commissioner about the finding of the Committee and directed that the building must be pulled down so that a new building could be constructed.
"The Corporation will soon issue an eviction notice to all the tenants occupying the market building. It is a public safety issue. We will contemplate on what best can be done to the tenants," said the DC.
Gurudatta Hegde, Commissioner, Mysuru City Corporation said that the MCC is awaiting Heritage committee proceedings. "Once we receive it, we will place it before the council. The tenants had moved the Court earlier after the council decided to demolish the building. We will bring up the matter again before the Council. The Committee has found that the building is too weak and cannot be restored or renovated. Hence, without any second thought we will have to do what has been recommended," he said.
No demolition, only renovation: Traders
However, the traders, tenants and the vendors are not convinced by what is being told to them by the authorities. Giving a broad picture of the building, Pailwan Mahadev, President of Devaraja Market Traders Association said that the market building which is spreading over 3.5 acres is in very good condition.
He said that there are 1,122 shops in the market, of which 822 vendors pay monthly rent while 300 pay rent on a daily basis. In each shop has three to four workers. Lot more are dependent on this market for their livelihood.
More than 3000 people purchase vegetables from this market and sell in their respective places. Every day nearly 8000 to 10,000 people visit the market. Among 1122 shops, just 180 shops are in the outer peripheral and have some problems while the rest of the shops, which is more than 900 are inside the building where there is no problem at all, he said adding that the traders will welcome the decision of the authorities to repair or restore the building, but they will never make way for the demolition of the structure.
"Let them give us expert committee reports and proceedings of the heritage committee. After going through the report we will reveal our next move. We are ready for a legal battle. It is the matter of livelihood of at least 10,000 people who are directly and indirectly dependent on the market," he said.
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