From a food court to direct access from the BMTC bus stand and Namma Metro station, the historic K.R. Market is expected to see a major makeover this year.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), under the Smart City project, is set to start work on the heritage structure in July. Tenders for the work were called in March.
The document detailing redevelopment plans for the market says the aim is to “transform the market into a sustainable, thriving centre of economic, cultural and social importance, whilst safeguarding and enhancing its historic importance to provide for a distinct memorable identity.”
BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said among the changes people can expect at the end of the approximately one-year period of redevelopment are utilisation of the now unused second floor as a food court, a foot overbridge connecting the metro station to the market, and connecting the BMTC bus stand to the market.
“The idea is to ensure that anyone can come from anywhere into the market. This way, footfalls will increase,” he said. The K.R. Market gets around a lakh visitors each day.
The meat market is in a dilapidated condition, as a result of which it will be demolished and redeveloped, while the post office building will also be rebuilt, he added.
Redevelopment plan includes restoring the heritage status of the market, creating unloading docking bays, a vending plaza around the main market building and refurbishing the BMTC bus stand.
There are 250 shops on the first floor, 365 on the ground floor, and 550 in the upper basement, officials said.
With the BBMP coming under fire from the Karnataka High Court for failure to meet fire safety standards in the busy K.R. Market, the issue figures prominently in redevelopment plans.
The palike had recently cleared encroachments in the market.
A division bench was hearing a PIL petition filed in 2017 by the Bengaluru Flower Merchants’ Association, K.R. Market questioning BBMP’s action of allowing illegal shops that block the entries to fire and emergency exits. The High Court cautioned that it would not hesitate to order closure of the market if the BBMP fails to rectify within two weeks some of the serious lapses identified by the Fire and Emergency Service (F&ES) Department in the market complex.
Mr. Prasad said fire-fighting equipment will be given the required space in the Rs. 50 crore redeveloped project. “As many as 1,800 sprinklers, 300 smoke detectors, fire alarms and other equipment will be installed,” he said.
He added that the market will not be closed during the redevelopment work.
Bengaluru’s ranking under Smart City went up to 30 from 74. It was the last city to be chosen from Karnataka for the Smart City project.
The other cities from Karnataka chosen for the project are Belagavi, Davangere, Hubballi, Mangaluru, Shivamogga, and Tumakuru.