Special Correspondent

Modernisation of fish market at Pangode

Move to secure court clearance for project

Project has remained bogged down in litigation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city Corporation is awaiting Cabinet clearance for the transfer of 39 cents of land from the Revenue Department to start work on the modernisation of the wholesale fish market at Pangode.

The Cabinet decision is crucial to the Rs.8-crore project that has remained bogged down in litigation for the last five years.

Corporation sources said the Revenue Department had agreed to part with the Revenue puramboke land adjacent to the existing market.

They said the Cabinet meeting this week was likely to approve the transfer.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had redirected the case to the High Court. Eight years back, four residents’ associations and two temple trusts at Pangode had filed a petition seeking relocation of the market, citing environmental and health hazards caused by the unsanitary conditions.

The petition highlighted the environmental pollution and health problems caused by unhygienic conditions in the market and the chaotic traffic conditions on the Vazhuthacaud-Pangode route. After the market was shifted from Palayam to Pangode in 1986, residents of the locality have been voicing their protest against the pollution and stench from rotten fish waste. They complain that in the absence of treatment facilities, the waste is dumped into the Killi river without treatment.

Last year, the High Court directed the local body to shift the market, after repeated efforts to initiate a modernisation project got stalled due to the land issue.

The Corporation later appealed to the Supreme Court, maintaining that it was impossible to relocate the market elsewhere.

Although the Corporation, along with the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, had formulated a Rs.2.25-crore market modernisation plan in 2001, the project did not take off for want of takers for the work.

Later, another plan also ran into trouble following a dispute with the State government in 2005.

In 2008, the government approved a Rs.8-crore project to modernise the market and provide it with effluent treatment facilities.

However, the High Court dismissed the market modernisation plans, stating that the Corporation had repeatedly failed to meet the deadline for modernisation or relocation.

Modernisation plan

The blueprint for the project includes the construction of auction lots for wholesalers, retail shops, ice-crusher units, delivery docks for fish trucks, effluent-treatment plant, refrigeration facility, sand shops, dormitories for workers, office rooms, conference hall and a food court. The complex would cover an area of 81 cents.

According to the financial estimate prepared by the consultants, the Corporation would foot the operational and maintenance costs of the fish market with the revenue generated from entry and parking fees for vehicles, rental of auction lots, offices, shops, cold storage and ice-crusher units, usage fee for unloading bays and dormitories and charges for billboard display.

The project is expected to generate profit from the first year of operation.

Chairman of the Corporation’s standing committee on Health G.R.Anil said the proposed market was designed on the lines of the Jurong fish market in Singapore.

“The waste disposal system for the new market will follow the guidelines issued by the Pollution Control Board”.

The Corporation is planning to implement the project with an assistance of Rs. 5 crore from the Union government’s market modernisation fund.

“Once the Cabinet clears the transfer of land from the Revenue department, we plan to aproach the High Court again, stating that we are ready to implement the project”, Mr.Anil said.