Fish vendors at Palayam’s Connemara Market have, for long, complained about the lack of basic infrastructure there. They were unhappy about what they considered being shunted to the back of the market in a temporary shelter.
At a meeting held at the Corporation office here on Monday, the vendors reiterated their demand for space at the side the market where a multi-storey building for them stood until a few years ago.
A 14-member subcommittee, including representatives of vendors’ unions, trade unions, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and Corporation engineers, was announced during the meeting. The subcommittee will visit the market on Tuesday afternoon, and convene afterwards to determine how much area a new shelter will require, prepare an estimate for the boundary wall, and the logistics of leaving a path to the two-tonne biogas plant.
The promise made when the old market was demolished was that a massive modernisation project would turn the area into a spacious market equipped with facilities for the many vendors who thronged there.
The project was meant to be implemented in a private-public partnership mode involving the city Corporation, the Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority, and Infrastructure Kerala Ltd. When land acquisition hurdles cropped up, the project was put on hold, and the vendors found themselves in a makeshift facility.
The Corporation then decided to include in last year’s budget a project to build a new shelter and install facilities such as a deep freezer for the fish vendors.
This ran into trouble when the fish vendors launched a protest against allowing Kudumbasree outlets at the same shelter. They feared this would reduce the already limited space beside the market and that the outlets would draw away customers.
Dismissing these claims, Welfare standing committee chairman and councillor of the ward Palayam Rajan said it was the livelihood of the vendors that was being prioritised. “The project has already been delayed far too long, so we intend to set the ball rolling immediately,” Mr. Rajan said. This project falls under the spillover list this year and is estimated to cost Rs.20 lakh.