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Iconic Gole Market in Delhi to finally get a facelift by 2017

06 Sep 2016

download (1)NEW DELHI: The Iconic Gole Market in Delhi to finally get a facelift by 2017. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has given its nod to a rebuilding project for the colonial-era building in central Delhi.

NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar is certain that the redesign work, which had been in limbo for 10 years, will be started soon. He told TOI that the board had appointed an advisor and approved its design. "There were legal issues that continued delaying the project. However, we have resolved them and appointed an advisor. After fixing the final budget, we will float a tender," said Kumar.

NDMC had evicted many retailers when the Gole Market redevelopment arrangement was conceived in 2006. This led to a controversy and legal disputes. In 2013, the Supreme Court passed a request to support NDMC requesting it to provide an alternative site to the shopkeepers and restore the old market.

Developed in 1921, the building stood the trial of time till NDMC declared it unsafe in 2007. Over the previous decade, it has turned into an eyesore with paint and the plasters flaking off the walls. So much so that a few branches of a Peepal tree and shrubs have grown on the walls of the main building. Cracks have developed on the staircase and danger is lurking around every corner of the structure. Kumar said the market required immediate attention and that NDMC would ensure that the revival work is over by the first half of 2017.

Many individuals feel nostalgic seeing the octagonal building. It is one of the major tourist attractions in the city. "We are attempting to reestablish its old charm. We don't want to do any major alteration. The heritage building will house a museum, along with an art gallery, to showcase Delhi's history," he added.

As a major aspect of its beautification drive, NDMC has been promoting public art for the past one year. The proposed gallery at Gole Market will showcase snapshots of public art created across the country. "In Connaught Place, we have put up some works, which have received good response. Similarly, we have a project to beautify the subways," Kumar said. "There will be a cafeteria at Gole Market where tourists and art connoisseurs will be able to unwind," said Kumar.

However, traders are not happy with NDMC's decision to turn the market into a museum. Narayan Shamnani, president of Gole Market Merchants' Association, said that the council had been planning to revive the market for the past decade but it had failed to come up with a detailed plan.

"Several shopkeepers were thrown out and they lost their livelihood. Although the council gave them an alternative site, shopkeepers have turned down the offer. The market used to attract many tourists in the past, but now it is in a pathetic condition. Mounds of garbage and malba are dumped on its premises and NDMC has done nothing to keep the area clean," said Shamnani. "Gole Market is one of the oldest colonial markets in the capital and it should remain a market. I don't see any point in turning it into a museum."

According to the traders' association, there is little scope to develop any museum in the market in the absence of parking space. NDMC has to devise a proper traffic plan before implementing the project, shop-owners said.

"The traffic condition is really bad and NDMC must come up with a solution before initiating the work," said S K Anand, vice-president of the traders' association.

Taking a cue from European countries, NDMC has planned to develop pelican crossings near this market instead of subways. "The architecture is quite old and subways are not an option. NDMC will beautify the area by developing gardens and putting up public art," Kumar asserted.

 
By Sanjay Bansal | Founder & CEO | Affordable Homes India

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