130-year-old Gandhi Bazaar’s heritage at stake

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Vendors demand for a legal notice from BBMP and DULT following their plan to change the historical neighborhood of Gandhi Bazaar.

By Shubhangi Mishra

Bangalore: In a plan set-up by BBMP and the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) to change the historical neighborhood of Gandhi Bazaar, many vendors and residents expressed concern of losing their year-old business and authenticity. Radha, a resident of Basavanagudi said, “Bangalore is known for its heritage and culture, so maintaining it is very important. The authorities should not destroy the heritage and maintain it while re-building the place. Making big complexes is okay but they should put heritage touch to it.”

A regular customer of Gandhi Bazar Market, Uma Devi, who has been visiting the place since 20 years now said that she will stop visiting the market if it will be renovated and vendors will be shifted.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the DULT have planned to revamp the heritage place. Parking spaces and complexes will be built threatening the business and street-vendor culture of the place. The plan also include converting the flower market into a multi-level parking lot shifting the vendors from their original spaces. Many vendors will also lose their business after the main road between National Cooperative Bank Circle and Gandhi Bazaar Circle will be closed to manage traffic.

Malesh, a flower vendor at the Gandhi Bazaar since 22 years expressed distress about losing his business. He said, “When this places will be closed, where will I do the business? Where will they give the place? The vendors who will give more money will be given shops in the front lane of the complex. We want our shops in the front lane.”  

The renovation plan sparked an outrage among residents and vendors. 130-year-old market is one of the oldest heritage hub of Bangalore city. Residents of Basavanagudi came together to hold a march on Monday against the reorganization plan. However, the MLA said that Gandhi Bazar is not just for vendors but for customers as well.

“There is no extra-ordinary historic importance to this road. We should also look at what is beneficial to the public. Customers didn’t have parking all these years now there will be parking. Now that we are developing the area, you are voicing out your problems, where were you before?” said Sai Datta, a spokesperson at MLA Dr. Uday B Gatudacharya Office.

Experts believed that market is an important place to understand the culture of a city. Removing markets and building parking lots in the name of development is not beneficial for anybody. 

Vinay Paranaswarappa from a heritage walk organization Gully Tours said, “The markets there goes back in time. Development just doesn’t mean wider roads and access for cars. I don’t think that development meams removing a market and building a parking lot there. Development should also be for the vendors and people who are dependent on it.”

Vendors working at the bazaar for years now urged for a legal notice from BBMP and DULT at the earliest in the fear of losing of livelihood.


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