After spending over a decade in a state of neglect, the 126-year-old Chhatrapati Shivaji Market is all set for a facelift, as the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) has decided to renovate and upgrade the structure.
“Since four decades, only minor maintenance works have been carried out in the market… we owe it to our future generation to turn the market into a clean and modern one,” said PCB president Brigadier Rajiv Sethi.
On Wednesday, right after a day-long meeting of the board, Brigadier Sethi decided to visit the market, a Victorian style structure with high ceilings, as well as Fashion Street and Boottee Street, with a 60-person team.
However, he and his team were less than impressed with what they saw there. “We found a pile of bones at the meat market and there was no arrangement to properly dispose it of… there was utter chaos both inside and outside the market. Now, the PCB has given illegal hawkers and vendors outside the market a day’s time to shut their shops… they will have to clear out by Thursday evening,” said PCB CEO D N Yadav.
“Some illegal vendors have even set up tin sheds outside the market, causing a traffic bottleneck on the road,” said Yadav.
“We have to have a proper plan to relocate the vendors to an alternate site,” said PCB member Vivek Yadav.
“Currently, there are 504 stalls… we will now make an inventory. A general notice will be issued on the repair works and relocation to an alternate site,” said Board CEO D N Yadav.
PCB members Priyanka Shrigiri and Kiran Mantri emphasised that the issue of repairs was urgent, as, inside the market, the water distribution lines were exposed, loading and unloading of goods was being carried out in unhygienic surroundings, and areas outside the market had been encroached on.
PCB vice-president Atul Gaikwad and member Vinod Mathurawala said the Board was receiving an increasing number of complaints from local residents about the appaling condition of the market.
Earlier, while discussing the issue at the PCB meeting, several members had urged that instead of shutting down the market for six months to carry out the renovation, a section-by-section restoration was more feasible.
“How can we vacate the entire market,” asked PCB vice-president Atul Gaikwad, while PCB member Ashok Pawar suggested that an action plan should be drawn up about sections in the market which were in the worst condition and needed immediate repairs.