The plan for a market complex was launched two years ago
It is with suspicion that vendors of Pangode fish market view the building coming up in one part of the market.
Two years ago, the plan for the building as part of a renovation plan with an outlay of Rs.2.50 crore. It promised them a space to sell fish with modern facilities. But now they fear being displaced by larger wholesale traders.
“It is a shopping complex,” the vendors say. They point at the interior of the first floor of the building and say it is being split into small sections rather than a large hall.
Dismissing these speculations, Health Standing Committee Chairperson S. Pushpalatha says the workers will be benefitted once the construction of the building is complete.
The open market here had come under scanner following petitions filed by residents living near the market, who demanded that it be moved, owing to the stench and proximity to homes.
This prompted authorities to consider a development plan that involved a modernisation programme encompassing proper waste management systems, storage facilities and clean halls that would facilitate sale in a hygienic environment.
The facility was supposed to be fully operational by now. But works standing committee chairperson V.S. Padmakumar says after rains last December, the lecheate from the market flooded into homes nearby and irked residents, leading to the work getting stalled.
“The market is being renovated to contain modern facilities and financial assistance is being provided by the Central ministry, the National Fisheries Development Board. We aim to finish its construction by mid-2013,” he says.
But he was vague on whether the vendors will be accommodated. “We will finalise these details once the renovation nears completion,” he says.
According to the vendors, the fish they sell arrive the same morning and are sold the same day itself.
“We do not store the fish and even if it means selling them at a loss, we do it as the market does not have the facility for storage and we cannot carry around large ice-boxes with us,” a vendor says.
The area also is cleaned thoroughly following busy hours in the morning and evening, she adds.
Another vendor says a number of families depend on the daily business being held at the market and if the wholesale vendors monopolise the space in the building coming up, they will resort to selling fish by the roadside.
Suresh Kumar, the councillor here, says the main complaint, among residents, is no longer the stench from the market, but the lack of proper drainage facility.
“There was a meeting last week with K. Muraleedharan, MLA on acquiring funds for putting in place a proper drainage system,” he says.