Little India Riot Inquiry: Two carparks to stay as informal gathering points

TWO carparks in Little India have been left undeveloped deliberately as they are recognised by the Government as informal gathering points for foreign workers, an Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) representative told the inquiry on Tuesday.

Instead, the carparks at Kinta Road and Kampong Kapor were closed off and given to the Singapore Contractor Association Limited (SCAL) to run pasar malam and other recreational events on Sundays, modelled after an earlier SCAL-run gathering space at Weld Road.

URA group director for conservation and development services, Mr Ler Seng Ann, believes there is "a conscious effort" by the Government not to sell state land which sees large gatherings of foreign workers on weekends. Such land is designated as "informal gathering spaces" and are temporarily set aside for such a use.

"We defer development (of such land) till much later; we have no immediate plan to develop the area," he said.

The URA leads the nine-agency Little India Taskforce set up in 2006 to improve the physical infrastructure in the area. Many of its proposals, including the widening of pavements and traffic light crossings, were implemented between 2008 and 2011. Open drains along the side streets in Little India were also covered to double as walkways, and the pavements were tiled with non-slip terracotta tiles to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

Mr Ler added that Campbell Lane would be made into a pedestrian mall, with construction starting this quarter.

This would provide another gathering space close to the Little India Heritage Centre.

"We are actively working on it now and aiming to complete it by 2015, to tie in with the Little India heritage centre," he said.

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