Thursday, June 30

Kolkata Municipal Corporation plans ‘total overhaul’ to salvage 145-year-old New Market

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The KMC plans to overhaul the century-old New Market, large parts of which have been showing signs of decay over the past few years, to give it a fresh lease of life.

But before work starts, the civic authorities will conduct a detailed study of the Grade-I heritage market to ascertain the current condition of the structure. The civic body will float a tender to appoint an agency to carry out the survey. It was also weighing the option of roping in the best structural engineers to conduct the structural stability test of New Market before going in for “total restoration” of the structure, said senior KMC market department official.

The KMC, however, has a challenge before they can start restoration: the illegal occupants of the market will have to be evicted. “Large portions of the ceiling of the market have been made vulnerable owing to the construction of make-shift structures on the terrace. We need to evict the occupants and raze the makeshift structures to make the building structurally safe,” said a KMC market department official, adding effective steps were being planned to remove the people from New Market’s roof, which they have turned into their homes.

The frequent incidents of concrete chunks falling off the ceiling in different parts of the 145-year-old market over the past five years has apparently nudged the civic top brass to take the initiative to restore the crumbling structure from further decay. “New Market is an inseparable part of the city’s rich history,” said a KMC market department official. “Sadly, many parts of the building have developed major cracks. Concrete is falling off the ceiling at regular intervals. It’s time we conducted a detailed study of the structure and came up with a solution to save the historic market from collapsing.”

A KMC buildings department official conceded that large parts of New Market were crying out for urgent repairs. Pointing out that the condition was especially poor in the flower range, meat range, fish range, vegetable range and Golghar, the official expressed apprehension that if a comprehensive repair work was not taken up soon, it might “cost them dear”. “Though we have taken up temporary repair work from time to time, we need to chalk out a comprehensive restoration policy for the heritage market to make it structurally safe. Any further delay in this direction will cost us dearly,” the KMC building department official said. S S Hogg Market Traders’ Association president Ashok Gupta on Thursday said the traders had been demanding a comprehensive repair work for the market structure for a long time.


Source: Times of India

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