Don’t BUY Fish! Now You Can Catch FISH at the ‘Open & Shut ‘New Urwa Market?
- Don’t BUY Fish! Now You Can Catch FISH at the ‘Open & Shut ‘ Rs 13 crore New Urwa Market?- and the video by Environmentalist and Social Activist Shashidar Shetty has gone viral on social media
Mangaluru: Here is a story of a market which was inaugurated during the beginning of the year 2019, but unfortunately still not open for business-you know why? One of the reasons for the delay in function of this new market is that the process of allotment of stalls through auction is yet to be finalized. We are talking about the nearly Rs 13 crore three-storey Urwa Market Complex, which was rebuilt by Mangaluru Urban Development Authority (MUDA), and which was inaugurated by then Urban Development minister U T Khader along with other Congress honchos and other district officials on 27 January 2019, and was SHUT immediately and still shut, due to some negotiations going on between MUDA and MCC.
The Urwa Market is also one among the other two markets which were inaugurated and remained closed after that- they are Kavoor Market inaugurated in February 2019 and CLOSED thereafter, and Alake Market inaugurated in October 2020 and CLOSED thereafter. Presently the brand new Market is in a pathetic condition, with the car parking and the lower basement totally flooded, up to over the knee level water stranded. No doubt with this stranded water at various parts of the lower portion of this Market complex will give scope for breeding of larvae into mosquitoes, thereby spreading the Dengue and Malaria diseases. Team Mangalorean was there yesterday morning to have a deep look into this complex, and was surprised to see a few alcohol bottles, chewing tobacco wrappers, a few used condoms- so it looks like at night illegal activities are going on- and no one has given a thought to look at it.
Even though the entry to the Market complex is locked from the front side, and shops shutters are down, anyone can enter into the building from the basement which is wide open. Sources reveal that there has been a theft of electrical and sanitary items of about Rs 50,000, which the police are still investigating into. The building is so dark, anyone can use it for illegal activities like consuming alcohol, smoking ganja, or indulge in sexual activity. Seems like the hard-earned money of taxpayers is simply being flushed down the drain?
As per sources, the market complex spans over a nearly 85,000 sq ft area, having 122 stalls and has a parking space in the basement for nearly 75 cars and 40 two-wheelers. It also has space for 31 fish shacks, stalls for mutton, pork, beef, vegetables, fruits, flowers and premises for other businesses. In addition, the complex has office space and a canteen. When the project was started in December 2016, the vendors doing business in the old market were shifted to a temporary market yard, and as of today, even in spite of the new market being ready, all these vendors are still continuing their business in the temporary place.
Mangaluru City Corporation has leased out for 30 years its land where the new market building has been built for the Urban Development Authority. Neither the MUDA nor the city corporation earned revenue from it for the last two financial years. The MUDA had invested Rs 12.63 crore on the project by availing itself of Rs 4.30 crore as a bank loan. It spent ₹8.33 crore from its fund. Yet another reason for the delay in the function of this new Urwa Market was due to the Lok Sabha elections which in between, and due to the election code of conduct, the Market functioning was delayed. Even though Mangaluru City Corporation owned the market, the task for the development of the new market was handed over to MUDA. The foundation stone for the project was laid by the then minister Ramanath Rai in December 2016.
Business still continues at the old market until New Market Opens?
It is learnt that MUDA Commissioner briefing the media said that the authority had floated bids twice inviting those interested to avail themselves of stalls/office space in the building on a rental basis. But the response was poor probably due to high rentals and deposits. The authority will have to fix rentals as per government norms. Sources reveal that MUDA has now worked out revised rentals to attract offices/customers and the bids are invited on the basis for the third time. It has also planned to rent out office space for select government departments which are now functioning on a rental basis in private buildings in the City. A couple of months ago, MLA Vedavyas Kamath had said that if the MCC will have to manage the market, it will have to pay the funds invested by the MUDA.
At present, MCC is facing a funds crunch and other funds cannot be diverted to make payment to the MUDA. A solution is worked out and yet to be finalized. Meanwhile, MUDA Chairman Ravishankar Mijar has said that the market will function soon. Meanwhile, MLA U T Khader had insisted that the Market be managed by MCC and not MUDA as many issues, including issuing licence, which will come up while managing a market will be related to MCC. Returning the investment to MUDA should not become a problem for the City Corporation, had said Khader.
While the City is seeing malaria cases, still the district administration and MCC has turned a blind eye towards the gallons of stranded water in the lower portion of this Urwa market complex. The residents of this area have to be very cautious about this and take preventive measures from being affected by Dengue/Malaria. And to wash their hands, the MCC officials will come up with a statement that no larvae or breeding of mosquitoes was found at the new Urwa market. While the Market is still not occupied by shop owners and offices, the Market remains in a mess, with stranded water – and giving scope for activists to make fun, like time for fishing in the stranded water. We will still have to keep our fingers crossed until we see the doors of the Market open for business-until then it will still be history?
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