Our business is down, say shop owners
The new complex building in Jayanagar, inaugurated four years ago, still has five floors vacant. The seven-storey building has the first two floors occupied by the shopkeepers who were shifted from the old complex building, which is being reconstructed.
“We were shifted in 2019 to this new building. Since then, our business is low,” K. Suresh, secretary of the new complex building, informed The Observer.
Suresh, who also runs a stationery shop in the new building, said the old complex had more customers coming in. “I had a 137 sqft shop in the old complex. Now BBMP has allotted me this 80 sqft shop in the new complex, but the rent remains the same with very low business.”
The construction of the new complex building, started in 2012, concluded in 2018. The Rs 57-crore building was inaugurated in 2019.
Venkatesh KV, owner of the 40-year-old Nagasri book house in the old complex, shared: “Between 2016 and 2019, they had put barricades in front of my shop because of the ongoing construction process. In those years, the sales went really down and my book house kind of lost its identity. Now that the new complex has been inaugurated, it is still vacant and nefarious activities are going on inside those floors.”
The vacant floors are littered with cigarette butts and garbage. The shopkeepers raised this issue with the authorities concerned, but they have not taken any action yet.
The Observer found cigarette butts and paan masala wrappers. The walls of the five non-functional floors of the new complex building bore paan stains. An empty bottle of ‘chlorpheniramine maleate and dextromethorphan hydrobromide’ syrup and a transparent plastic bottle filled with a yellow liquid were also found on one of the floors.
The Observer noted that the elevator in the new complex building does not travel beyond the second floor. The steps leading to the third floor are barricaded with wooden blocks.
Nazia Sultana, an old customer at the Jayanagar complex, said: “I have a problem with my knees. I cannot climb so many floors to buy something.”
Customers who come to the new complex find it difficult to recognize shops which were earlier present in the old complex building. “We find the new complex very messy; sometimes we do not know where to go,” said another customer.
A. Prashanth Rai, an old-time customer at the complex, said: “We often used to visit Jayanagar when our children were younger. But, over the years, we have limited our visits as street vendors have occupied both sides of the road. Traffic has increased and the shopping complex does not have enough parking space. Constructing a multi-storey building is not a problem, but it cannot solve the Jayanagar vendor issue.”
Anil Kumar, Assistant Executive Engineer at BBMP, said that the floors of the new shopping complex building are vacant because the business is low. A court case is going on between contractors and the BDA regarding the renovation of the old complex building.
The Observer tried to reach BDA officials for their comments, but they were unavailable to talk.
BBMP had earlier promised an 18 months deadline to complete the renovation of the old complex building, but it has not been met. The shopkeepers are eagerly waiting to go back to their respective old complex shops.