Mayor visits Devaraja Market
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Mayor visits Devaraja Market

February 7, 2020

Says demolition best choice: Proposal will be sent to Government on Monday

Mysore/Mysuru: The  Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), which is hell-bent on demolishing the century-old Devaraja Market and the tenants, who are paying rent to the MCC for shops and slots in the Market are set for another showdown over the issue of demolition. 

The final proposal to demolish the Market will be sent to the State Government for approval on Monday, said Mayor Tasneem Bano, who visited the Market this morning. It was her maiden visit after she was elected as the Mayor recently. She was accompanied by Deputy Mayor C. Sridhar and other officials. 

Even as the tenants were insisting that the Market can be repaired and restored, the Mayor told them that demolition was the best alternative than repairing and restoring the structure. 

The Council has decided to demolish the structure and reconstruct the building keeping its heritage value in mind. Even the Court of Law has asked the MCC to demolish and rebuild the heritage structure. 

Traders of Devaraja Market had moved the Court against the proposed demolition but the Court has instructed the MCC to provide alternative arrangements to the traders. The Court, while giving the go ahead for the demolition, instructed the MCC to rebuild the structure by retaining its heritage parameters, Tasneem Bano told the traders. 

Proposal on Monday

Even the Expert Committee from Chennai and Karnataka State Technical Task Force had inspected the Market and confirming its dilapidated state, had also suggested demolition. Following this, the Council has passed a resolution declaring that the structure will be razed and a new heritage-like building will be constructed, the Mayor informed the traders. 

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For the MCC to send a proposal to the Government, it has to video-record the Market in its present state and send a proposal to the Government for approval. The Mayor directed the officials to send the proposal on Monday so that the dilapidated Market can be reconstructed. She reasoned that more than structures, human lives are important and if anything goes wrong, the MCC must shoulder the blame. 

Stiff resistance

The Mayor’s move met with stiff resistance from the traders and tenants who insisted that the Market can be repaired and restored. Calling the move illogical, the tenants said that there are more than 100 heritage buildings in Mysuru and the MCC logic should apply to all of them. They called for the acceptance of the recommendations of Heritage Committee that has asked the MCC to renovate and restore the building.

Tenants said that the MCC was not looking at the heritage value but was focussing only on commercial aspects and generating revenue most of the Devaraja Market complex was in a fairly good state. Only a few places on the terrace, roof slab need to be restored and this damage has been caused due to poor maintenance, they justified. 

Fear of tenants

Inside sources, however, said that the tenants are opposed to the demolition as it will take at least two to three years for the MCC to demolish and reconstruct the building and tenants will be out of job till the works are complete. Tenants fear that the MCC will not make any alternative arrangements to them and they will be left in the lurch. 

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Another reason is that only 30 percent of genuine tenants have occupied the Market and the rest of the 70 percent have given them on rent, leased and even sub-leased the shops. Also, once the new Market is constructed, the tenants have to shell out more as rent and will not be cheap as it is at present, said sources adding that the tenants will oppose demolition tooth and nail setting stage for a confrontation with the MCC. 

MCC Zone 6 Assistant Commissioner Geetha Udeda, Development Officer H. Nagaraj, Corporator M.D. Nagaraju, Environment Engineer Mythri and others were present.

3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Mayor visits Devaraja Market”

  1. Bhamy V. Shenoy says:

    While we have debate on the pros and cons of demolishing or restoring Devaraj market, often ignored factor is the compensation to be paid to all those who lose their livelihood during the reconstruction of the market. In the debate we do talk of the sufferings of the poor affected by the demolition. But no one has tried to quantify the amount. In my rough estimate it can be between Rs 50 crores to Rs 75 crores. By one estimate this is more than the total cost of rebuilding. If this huge amount is taken into consideration even those who oppose restoration are likely to have second thoughts.
    Let me also give below what the dissenting expert (only one) of the commission stated when one of the reports (there are many reports over the years) to choose the option of demolition was recommended.

    Report was done soon after the collapse of some portion of Lansdowne building on 25th August, 2012 and four persons died. One of the significants observation made in the report (Govindan Kutty gave a separate report since he did not agree with the recommendation of the committee to demolish the building) was the following.
    “The only components of the building which can be retained, with appropriate restoration measures to serve well in future, are the foundation and the ground floor masonry walls.”.
    They followed it up with the following:
    In order to make the building safe and serviceable for next 80 to 100 years, the following are the recommendations. In essence, the recommendations comprise of:
    (i) Retaining the foundation of the building and the ground floor masonry walls with appropriate strengthening measures, followed by-
    (ii) Total reconstruction of the ground floor ceiling, the first floor masonry walls, the first floor ceiling, the balcony areas and architectural features.
    With the present day technology, it is possible to carry out these recommendations in six to eight months, and the likely cost will be about Rs. 3.5 crores.
    The building as it stands is in an unsafe condition. By incorporating the recommendations illustrated above, the building can be recommissioned ensuring adequate strength, stability and safety.
    When one reads the above comments and recommendations, it is difficult to conclude that the experts had recommended total demolition of the building as reported widely in the media and also often quoted by the councilmen and other political leaders. I did not get a copy of the third member , Sri Kutty who had disagreement with the other two.

  2. jalandhara says:

    Those superannuated members of the MGP- I call it Mysuru Grahachara Parishad, keep bleating about preserving this unsafe and purposeless relic, along with another , the Lansdowne building which is as unsafe and as purposeless The argument about strengthening this and that part of this crumbling structure, masks the real reason why this outfit MGP opposes the demolition of any so-called crumbling heritage structure.
    Before throwing good tax payers’money after bad this so called strengthening attempt, one should ask, why his crumbling edifice should not be demolished. As a Mysorean born, bred and worked for a few decades in Mysuru, this Market was simply made itself irrelevant by being an expensive vegetable and fruit shopping centre, at the turn of 1970s. As Mysuru expanded, with the street and local markets springing up in new extensions, selling fresh fruits and vegetables each day -unlike this place, and the so called centre disappearing fast with expanded Mysuru, the flimsy reasoning of a central integrated market also disappeared.
    This author claimed in one SOM post that this Market could be developed like the Grand Bazar of Istanbul, which just demonstrates the delusion of such proponents, when one compares just the location of the above Bazar in an international city connected so well with the rest of the globe.
    This is not Russell Market either , which indeed has the potential of becoming India’s Grand Bazar and which really is worth preserving.
    The MCC should go ahead in the demolition of what remains as the Devaraja Market and Landsdowne building. Both ceased to be of importance as Mysuru grew, local markets and modern shops with space for expansion emerged.
    Finally, if the MGP is so concerned in preserving the heritage buildings which are crumbling to the state of not being safe, then they should become a real heritage organisation , as we see for example, in the Western countries, particularly in Europe, with ability to raise public and sponsorship funds of enough value to demand matching funds from the local and the state government, not standing merely at the side, contributing mere words.

  3. What a culture! says:

    When the really heritage icon: Chamundi Hil ls is being systematically decimated by the combined effort of : Karnataka government, who want to transform this small place of worship into a buzzing tourist centre, Mysoreans themselves who are so infatuated with cars as status symbol, and hence multiplied their presence by hundred fold every few years and the visitors who bring in petrol vehicles of all shapes and sizes, the focus is directed at a crumbling buildings which as a Market, made itself irrelevant by hiked prices of fruits and vegetables to pay for the ever increasing long lease and short tenancy fees! Its location means nothing to some one living in Banni Mantap layout or the distant Ydavagiri extension in the ever expanding Mysuru of today.
    Just focus the effort, energy and money in saving the Chamundi Hills for the coming generations of Mysoreans.

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