Flower traders in Asia’s biggest flower market, the Jagannath Ghat flower market, have breathed a sigh of relief with many initiatives being taken by the state government to ensure easy availability of the necessary facilities required to attract more business.
Traders in the age-old market, which is situated just adjacent to Howrah Bridge in Kolkata side, had incurred heavy losses when many shops were gutted due to a fire. Moreover, for decades the market was in shambles. Floors of the narrow passages in the market were in poor shape and traders had to search for a proper place to set up their stalls.
However, a major portion of the market’s floor has now been repaired. It came as a boon to the traders who don’t have permanent shops and were forced to set up their stalls on the floor itself.
Naresh Jana, a flower trader from Bagnan in Howrah, said that he brings a huge quantity of flowers to the market every day and sets up his stall on the floor. “All the traders like me who don’t have a permanent shop had to search for a proper place to set up our stalls. Quarrelling amongst ourselves in search of a proper place to set up our stalls was a daily routine. Now there is no problem at all. Ample space has been created with concretisation and repairing of the floor. Now no one needs to fight with the other and everyone gets a neat and clean space to set up the stalls,” he said.
Monotosh Panja, another trader, said it has also helped in augmenting their income. Though a huge quantity of flowers is supplied across the country from the market every day, a section of people used to be reluctant in visiting the market.
However, now the situation has changed a lot. Besides the retailers, footfall of common people has also gone up manifold. As a result, the sale in the market has gone up.
There are around 250 stalls in the market and livelihood of hundreds of people is dependent on proper maintenance of the market. Thus, the traders who don’t have their permanent shops need to give a minimum fee for proper maintenance of the market. There are assigned persons to collect the fee from the traders. As a result, they are no more threatened by any other people to give money.
Every year hundreds of Durga Puja organisers visit the market late at night on Shasthi or early morning on Saptami. The traders expect the turnover to be much higher this time around.