The fish market that is coming up in Dhurwa. (Prashant Mitra)
Ranchiites, get ready for your big catch. A hi-tech fish mall in the capital will open in February next year.
The state fisheries department, which had mooted the proposal to start the wholesale fish mart by 2012, said the project construction had been delayed by two months due to monsoon.
But the facilities on offer on the campus of the fisheries department’s training centre in Dhurwa, Shalimar, will more than make up for the delay, promised fisheries director Rajiv Kumar.
“Say goodbye to the dirty and unhygienic ambience when you go shopping for fish. Our Rs 3.48-crore fish mall is going to be a state-of-the-art building. Fish lovers will love the hygienic conditions,” he said, adding they were aiming for a February launch.
Jharkhand doesn’t have any organised fish market. In Ranchi, Mallah Toli market, the biggest fish trading hub on Main Road, is unhygienic. “It is mucky, fish scales and discarded parts are strewn everywhere. Our complex will have planned architecture, modern storage boxes, a locker facility to store unsold fish and packaging facilities. We want the fish trade to become systematic,” Kumar said.
The Dhurwa complex spans over 80 decimal area and will have three storeys including the ground floor.
“There will be 40 shops on the ground floor as part of the fish market. The upper storeys will be open for commercial firms and banks,” said Kumar.
Mallah Toli fish vendors will the first to be relocated. Countering doubts of whether vendors of the 40-year-old market would be willing to relocate to the complex 9km away, Kumar said “everyone sounded very excited”.
“It is true that the new complex is a bit far. But when we mooted the idea to fish sellers, we got positive vibes. We’ve received many applications for shop allocation. Fish vendors recognise the problems in their existing cramped market. Besides pollution, it hampers morning traffic when long-distance trucks arrive with fish stocks,” said Kumar.
“At present, many shops don’t even have roofs. We ply our trade under an open sky, braving heat and rain. A proper mart will really help,” said fish seller Md Nizam.
A lot is riding on the pilot project. “It is our debut in this sphere. We are launching a one-stop wholesale fish trade for traders and retail customers. You can call it a model complex. Once it kicks off successfully, we will set up similar malls in Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Dhanbad and Ramgarh,” Kumar said.
Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) in the past had also mooted a fish market, with a site in Kadru doing the rounds. But the RMC project did not bite due to problems including land and funds.
The civic body seems to have hit on an unlucky patch where its new projects are concerned. Not just the fish market, other initiatives such as a multi-storey commercial complex at Daily Market and Town Hall revamp are all in limbo.