A plan to set up three fresh fish retail outlets in Mangalore last year by the Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation (KFDC) was abandoned owing to opposition by fisherwomen. The KFDC will now concentrate on setting up outlets in interior locations, V.K. Shetty, Managing Director of KFDC has said.

He said: “We will not open any outlet in Mangalore. The reason is the opposition from fisherwomen who said that the retail stores would affect their business. Now, we are focusing on starting outlets in interior areas.”

The KFDC has 12 such retail outlets in the State. It opened 10 stalls this year on B.C. Road, at Bantwal, Puttur, Sullia, Theerthahalli, Tumkur, Hassan, Kolar and in Kodagu.

Investment

It has invested Rs.1.2 crore to refurbish the outlet in Bangalore (at Cubbon Park), Mr. Shetty said.

Vasudev Boloor, general secretary of the National Fish Workers' Forum, said: “Fisherwomen protested against the retail outlets. That is the only reason the setting up of the other retail outlets has been halted.”

Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president G.G. Mohandas Prabhu said that fisherwomen had maintained that the retail outlets directly affected their livelihoods as sales had dipped. Even those selling fresh fish in the city's residential areas had suffered.

The Chilimbi retail outlet gets nearly 90 buyers each day and 150 on weekends, according to sources in the outlet.

Mr. Shetty put its business at Rs. 30,000 a day.

Pricing, hygiene and sanitation, and service were the convenience that customers expected at retail outlets, said Giridhar G Prabhu, proprietor, Achal Industries, and former president of Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ramachandar Baikampady, former president of the Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation, (KFDC), however blamed “lack of interest” among those concerned to open fish retail outlets at Kankanady, Jeppu, Car Street Hampankatta and Kavoor, the places identified for them. Setting up of one retail shop was not enough, he said.

Fresh fish reached the Chilimbi outlet within two hours, cut, cleaned and packed. Even at an upmarket mall in the city, the price of fish was 30 per cent higher than that at the Chilimbi retail outlet, he added.

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