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New Market traders list their woes

Poor drainage, dirty washrooms, garbage...

Kinsuk Basu | Published 23.06.23, 04:44 AM
Wires hang overhead and paint peels off the ceiling at New Market on Thursday

Wires hang overhead and paint peels off the ceiling at New Market on Thursday

Picture by Sanat Kr Sinha

A clogged drainage system, garbage everywhere, paints peeling off, unclean washrooms, lack of parking space....

New Market shop-owners blamed the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) for poor upkeep and inadequate maintenance of the market complex that will turn 150 in a few months.


With the monsoon setting in, traders have scheduled a meeting with senior officials of the KMC’s market department next week to address the woes that continue to plague shoppers as well as traders.

The market was thrown open on January 1, 1874, mostly for the British population of Kolkata.

“The KMC should take the lead in presenting a new face of the heritage market, which will be celebrating its 150th year in another six months. The market’s drainage system is far from good. Cleanliness remains an issue,” Uday Kumar Shaw, general secretary of SS Hogg Market Traders’ Association, said. “We have decided to take up our case with the KMC’s market department next week.”

SS Hogg Market is the formal name of New Market. The KMC is in charge of its maintenance.

Many traders said the market’s drainage system is among the biggest challenges faced by them. Water accumulates in parts of the G, F and D blocks and the central line even after a spell of light rain.

The central Kolkata shopping hub has around 2,000 shops spread across 15 blocks in the old and new complex.

A clogged drain and (right) an electric meter room in a sorry state at New Market on Thursday

A clogged drain and (right) an electric meter room in a sorry state at New Market on Thursday

Traders said the market has too few washrooms — only 14 — and they are ill-maintained. “The washrooms stink and are barely usable, especially during the monsoon,” said a trader.

Electrical wires dangle dangerously in several places in the market, said Abhijit Bose, a shop-owner. “Paints have peeled off at a number of places and plants have struck roots in some of the walls,” Bose said.

“The KMC carried out some maintenance work last year but there is a need to do much more to present a new face of this grand old market.”

Senior officials in the KMC’s market department said the civic body has been carrying out repairs on the market’s roof and in other sections over the past few months. The problem of water seepage has been addressed to a large extent, they said.

“There is some problem with the drainage and that is because the roads skirting the market area have been raised. So water takes time to move out,” Amiruddin (Bobby), mayoral council member in charge of markets, told The Telegraph.

“We are aware of the issues and have been working almost throughout the year to address them.”

Traders are also upset with the lack of parking facilities outside the market. The parking space allotted by the civic body around New Market and Bertram Street has been mostly encroached on by hawkers, making it difficult for shoppers to find a place to park their vehicles.

“Around 70 cars can be parked in the space allotted by the KMC, but less than half the number can access the space. Hawkers have encroached upon the demarcation line for the parking space,” Shaw said.

Senior KMC officials said they were in the process of finalising the results of a survey to identify the encroachers around the market, which is a Grade-I heritage structure.

Last updated on 23.06.23, 04:44 AM

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