| Thermocol containers and other packets dumped near Borsola Beel at Paltan Bazar. File picture |
Feb. 10: It’s final now. Northeast’s largest wholesale fish market will be shifted to a 53.5-acre plot at Saukuchi, on the outskirts of the city, from Paltan Bazar.
The Kamup (metro) district administration has ordered Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and the fishery department to immediately shift the market and submit a compliance report within 45 days.
Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri on Thursday issued the order because the current fish market, situated within the notified land of Borsola Beel, was polluting the waterbody and affecting the city’s environment.
The order said Borsola Beel acts as a natural water reservoir and haphazard dumping of thermocol containers, fish wastes and plastic bags were polluting the beel, which has been declared a waterbody under the Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008.
The district administration has also asked the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) to prepare an action plan to develop the land, which will be vacated after shifting the fish market, into an eco-tourism centre.
“It has been noticed that the fish market is polluting the beel, in violation of the provisions of law. But Borsola Beel has to be protected, preserved, and maintained as a waterbody where rainwater accumulates and which acts as a natural or stormwater reservoir to protect the city from flash floods or waterlogging,” the deputy commissioner’s order, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, said.
The Paltan Bazar wholesale fish market is the biggest in the Northeast and over 150 tonnes of fish come in from Andhra Pradesh, Kanpur, New Delhi and Mumbai every day and are sold to markets across the region.
The administration had mooted shifting the market in April last year after the wholesale vegetable market was shifted from Machkhowa to Pamohi on the city outskirts. Accordingly, the GMC had selected a plot of 53.5 acres at Saukuchi for the new fish market.
The vegetable market was shifted after the Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by vegetable traders against the move. “The Supreme Court order mentioned that wholesale markets for supplying goods to Guwahati and elsewhere should be shifted to the outskirts or outside the city to avoid problems of traffic congestion, health and hygiene and pollution. At the same time, the fish market has to be developed and modernised for the interest of traders,” the order said.
The order said once the fish market is shifted to Saukuchi, the land vacated at Borsola Beel will be developed into an eco-tourism centre for recreational purposes.
“Under Section 30 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, the district administration is authorised to take any step for prevention and mitigation of any disaster and failure to execute the order will invite action under the act,” the order said.