One of the oldest markets in the city, Johnson Market, may have just got an extension to its life. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had started the process of demolishing the old structure to construct a modern market at the place when the High Court of Karnataka intervened to say that the civic agency cannot do so till it makes alternative arrangements for the traders and licensees of shops there.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah had announced early last year the plan to demolish the structure and build a new one. The Johnson Market Merchants’ Association, which constitutes traders and shopkeepers of the market, approached the HC against the demolition plan. They sought a direction to the BBMP not to demolish any portion of the market.
On August 17, 2015, the HC had stayed the plan to demolish the building till the BBMP answers “as to what happens to the rights of the petitioners to carry on their petty businesses during the period the building is demolished and a new building is constructed.”
The case was finally disposed of on November 22. The BBMP submitted to the court that the Johnson Market building was in a dilapidated condition and they are following due procedure before taking up the demolition work. A meeting between the traders and BBMP was scheduled on December 1. BBMP also told the court that it will “require a period of approximately two years from now to search and shift them to an alternative accommodation.”
The court said that till alternative arrangements are made, the traders would be allowed to continue their trade there. The HC directed the BBMP that traders who “are presently carrying out their business under a valid trade licence” would be given alternative accommodation and then shifted to the new building after it was built. However, “no unauthorised trader will have any right or protection under this order,” the court clarified.
Johnson Market is a heritage site of Bengaluru and dates back to 1929, and was built around the same time as KR Market and Russell Market. The market was built due to the efforts of the then Diwan of Mysore Kingdom, Sir Mirza Ismail.
Credits Bangalore Mirror