Firhad Hakim visits Patuli floating market post inauguration by CM
Kolkata: State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim on Wednesday visited the floating market at Patuli, adjacent to Eastern Metropolitan Bypass in South Kolkata, soon after it was officially inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee through remote control from a government programme at Netaji Indoor Stadium.
The market, which is similar to the floating market at Pattaya in Bangkok, has 228 sellers sitting on 114 boats. It is the first of its kind in the country.
"This market is a creation from compulsion. Some years ago, the widening of Eastern Metropolitan Bypass had become a necessity for smooth flow of traffic and the hawkers sitting just beside the road had to shift elsewhere. Our main concern was to arrange for suitable rehabilitation of the hawkers. It has been the best possible way through which we have done the work," Hakim said.
The government was pondering upon a smooth and organised rehabilitation for the hawkers, who were forced to sit here and there by the roadside in a scattered manner. "We had showed them some alternative places but hawkers were of the opinion that these places would not be fit for good business. One day, this large water body that was choking with filth and acting as an eyesore, caught my attention. I had seen the Bangkok floating market when I visited it along with my wife, while I was a councillor. I thought of developing a floating market in this water body. I discussed the matter with engineers of Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), who welcomed my proposal," the minister said.
The design of the market has been conceived by Jadavpur University and the construction has taken exactly two years.
"The market has been divided into four zones - one for fish, another for chicken, mutton and eggs, the third for vegetables, fruits and flowers and another for grocery and miscellaneous items," said KMDA executive engineer Santanu Patra, who had supervised the entire work.
The boats have been manufactured at Balagarh, which is known for its expertise in this profession. Wooden ramps have been set up on a platform made of saal wood, on which people will travel over the surface of the water for shopping in the market.
"We are also adopting modern technology to ensure that there is proper oxidation in the water and ecological balance is maintained. The surrounding path beside the water body is being decked up with paver blocks," a KMDA official added.
It may be mentioned that there will be training and awareness programmes for the hawkers to dissuade them from throwing anything into the water body. "We will form a committee that will work for maintenance of the bazaar," Hakim said.
The market is being run through a cooperative and the prices of things are similar to that in a normal market.