In a major fillip for the 16.5-acre Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment project,a transit camp for commercial establishments located 500 m away near JJ Hospital was inaugurated on Thursday. The transit complex with 200 shops,ranging from 50 sq m to 250 sq m in size,covers an area of about 1 acre and is said to be the prototype of the high street market place planned for the redeveloped bazaar.
This is the first transit camp built on such a scale to rehabilitate businesses that have operated out of the 200-year-old bazaar. While the state governments policy for cluster redevelopment specifically mandates rehabilitation for residents,there is no such incentive or provision for safeguarding the interest of commercial establishments.
Abdeali Bhanpurawala,secretary of the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT),which is implementing the project,said,We had previously offered to pay the rent for shops that are willing to relocate. However,many shopkeepers were facing problems finding alternative spaces. We decided to build a transit shopping arcade ourselves so they have the option to rent a place elsewhere or move here.
He added that the trust will pay the rent of the space that shopkeepers are willing to forego if they move into smaller spaces in the commercial transit. In the redeveloped project,shopkeepers will be given as big a plot as their current shop on the ground floor of the arcade. If they agree to move to upper floors,we will give them 10 per cent more space for the first floor and 20 per cent more for the second floor, he said.
The SBUT acquired the plot for the commercial transit from another trust of the Bohri community on lease for five years. The trust said the transit complex has not had a major impact on the total cost of the project,which is estimated to be around Rs 3,000 crore. So far,of the nine sub-clusters,60 shopkeepers from clusters 1 and 3,where redevelopment work is expected to begin soon,have agreed to shift to the complex. The two clusters have 299 shops.
We will give priority to shops from clusters 1 and 3. We want to retain the unique flavour of the bazaar,yet give shopkeepers better amenities. They will have access to toilets,and escalators,the basic maintenance of which will be carried out by us, the SBUT secretary said. Most shops are road-facing and those on the rear have plenty of open space for truck movement. The only rules are that the shopkeepers must keep the premises clean and not let their goods occupy pathways, he added.