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Plan to turn old market into complex

Aug. 10: The stink, slush and snarls that torment people at Uzan Bazar vegetable market will soon be a thing of the past, with the Guwahati Municipal Corporation planning to convert the haat-like area into a state-of-the-art multi-storeyed complex.

The complex will house a parking lot for 50 vehicles, 120 shops, offices, conference rooms and adequate number of toilets.

“A blueprint of the project has been prepared, which will be sent to the state government for approval,” a GMC official told The Telegraph.

The landmark market, where residents throng for their essentials particularly fish and vegetables, is plagued by the stench of urine, in a corner of the market beneath the GMC office and puddles of water, which appear soon after a shower.

The market, at present, has just one toilet to cater to 100-odd traders. “The stench and dirt obviously turn off people. The irony is that people urinate in the open, just a couple of metres away from my shop,” Kanak Sarma, a trader said.

Dispur had sanctioned Rs 10 crore during the last budget for “development of the market”.

“Once the project is approved, we plan to use about Rs 8 crore from the amount sanctioned to set up a G-3 (ground floor-plus-three storeys) complex by April 2013. Tenders will be floated and firms invited for construction of the complex,” he said.

Another problem is the haphazard parking of vehicles on the two roads adjacent to the market — Sati Radhika Shanti Road and Bhuban Road — causing congestion in the area.

“Once the parking lot is set up, the congestion on the two roads should be taken care of. There is a natural slope from the western side of the market, which will make it convenient for constructing the parking lot in the basement,” the corporation official said.

The civic body, however, has done away with the idea of developing the markets in the city under PPP (public-private partnership) model.

“Various hurdles, such as land issues and opposition by traders and pressure groups, has made us do away with the idea of developing markets, be it Ganeshguri or Lakhtokia, under the PPP model. Hence, we have decided to develop markets in a phased manner on our own,” the official said.

The Uzan Bazar traders’ committee, however, had taken up the matter of the market’s uplift since the past five years. “It has been five years now since discussions with GMC on the market’s development started. As a matter of fact, prior to Assembly elections last year, the civic body had given us a written assurance that a new complex would come up in 18 months but to no avail,” Dhiren Baruah, president of Uzanbazar Byabxayi Samiti, told The Telegraph.

“About four months back, we even submitted a list of 180 traders to the then GMC commissioner Puru Gupta and asked the corporation to set up the complex in two years.,” Baruah said.